In Memory of




Obituary for Ralph Marvin Butterfield

Ralph Marvin Butterfield

Loaned by God on 7/6/1932 – returned to God on 9/3/2023, Ralph Marvin Butterfield, 91, was born to Ralph and Marilu Butterfield in San Diego, California. He was the son of a Navy father and moved back and forth across the country many times as a child.

In junior high school he was introduced to music, and the love of all kinds of music was with him all his life. In later years he enjoyed Bluegrass music and played the mandolin.

He graduated from La Jolla High School and then attended California Polytechnic State College in San Luis Obispo for 2 years. He became an ardent enthusiast of agriculture which determined his lifelong interest and occupation.

Ralph was drafted during the Korean War and served honorably for 2 years. Upon discharge he used the GI Bill to attend Montana State University in Bozeman and completed his undergraduate degree. He met his future wife of 64 years, Donna Ballantyne, at MSU, and they were married June 13, 1959, in Choteau, Montana. Ralph also earned a master’s degree at NDSU.

He taught in the ag field in Wibaux, MT, Wishek, ND, and Madison, MN. He was in on the ground floor of computer applications for the farm. He was always interested and concerned with the great farmers he worked with in Madison. Ralph and Donna moved to Heilberger Lake in Ottertail County upon retirement. He was able to enjoy living full-time at his beloved lake home for 25 years before moving into assisted living in Prior Lake early in 2023.

Ralph was artistic, musical, and loved airplanes. He spent much time flying many kinds of planes on his computer flight simulator. He was also a life-long learner with an inquisitive mind.
He belonged to Zion Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, MN, the American Legion, and the VFW. He was a true patriot.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Donna, daughters Shelley (Bryan) Moen, and Shawn (Jim Noonan) Gombos. Also surviving are a grandson, Taylor Gombos, granddaughters, Lindsay Bender, and Katie (Decker Geddes) Moen. Other surviving family members are 1 brother and 1 sister, a stepbrother and stepsister, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am, Friday, September 8th with visitation beginning at 9:00 am at Gill Brothers Funeral Home, 9947 Lyndale Ave. S., Bloomington, MN. A luncheon will follow the service at McKenna Crossing; 13810 Shepherd’s Path NW; Prior Lake 55379. Private Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery.