KUHNHOFF, Ralph W.
1921 – 2010
With profound sadness, the family of Ralph announce his death early on Friday morning December 17, 2010 after a determined struggle with his health. Mourning him is his blended family, wife Anne Johnson; sons David (Carlene), Steven (Georgia) and Donald, all of California; daughter Janice of Kansas; Anne’s family Claire (Sid), Philip, and Trevor; Rhonda Taylor, special friend and consummate caregiver. Ralph was the proud patriarch of a clan of 13 grandchildren: Kim, twins Keli and Kaci, Cari, Toby, twins Hannah and Hester, Debbie, Kevin, Stacey, Jeffrey, Matthew and Magdalena; 14 great-grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild, Baby Ella.
Ralph was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he received his education, married his sweetheart Donna in 1940 and started his family. Ralph joined the U.S. Airforce and after basic training in Kansas and Florida was assigned as a bombardier navigator to the opening of the Korean War. Completing 64 missions and receiving numerous medals including the Air Medal. Upon returning to the U.S. and relocating to California with his family Ralph was immediately recalled to Virginia to train Bombardier navigators. After discharge from the Airforce, Ralph pursued his lifelong passions of aviation and automobiles. He worked for flying Tigers as a propeller mechanic while pursuing certification as an A & P Mechanic. Eventually joining Hughes Corporation in Las Vegas as a service manager, followed by other assignments. The lure of Lake Mead meant buying a boat for fishing, partying and enjoying the outdoors. For a number of years, Ralph taught aircraft maintenance at VoTech in Las Vegas and was lured to British Columbia’s coast where he eventually retired to catch big salmon his new passion.
For many years, Ralph shared ownership of Beechcraft Bonanzas with friends and piloted his parents, family and friends across the country. Those were the days, in addition to honing his golfing skills. Ralph built model airplanes with which his good friend Ken Langford put on aerial displays. Ralph enjoyed the past 8 years wintering in Yuma, AZ, golfing and making friends. Ralph was a member of the Korean Veterans Association for many years. Ralph and Anne attended many 13th Bomb Squadron (The Grim Reapers) reunions, visiting cities across the States and reconnecting with wartime friends.
Ralph’s golf partner for many years was Dick Nex at Glacier Greens and more recently Pete Hills at Comox Golf Club. If desired, a donation to the young golfers program at either Glacier Greens or Comox Golf Club in Ralph’s memory would be appreciated. Cremation will take place with private funeral service followed by a reception on Wednesday, December 22 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at 420 Johnston Avenue, Courtenay.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared.
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee Jr.