Ralph Harold Marking, 81, of Richfield, MN, passed away peacefully on November 3, 2016, with family by his side.
Ralph was born on January 24, 1935, in Holman, WI. He spent his childhood and teenage years on the family farm. He often reminded his grandchildren of the one room school house he attended with his brothers and sisters. He was confirmed at Fish Creek Lutheran Church in Rockland, WI. He graduated from West Salem High School and then from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. He developed a love of science and continued his education at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he earned his PhD in Chemistry.
Ralph met Norma Borah while they were both graduate students at the U of MN. They were married at Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, on August 31, 1963, and they enjoyed 53 years of marriage. Ralph and Norma moved to Eau Claire, WI, in 1963 where Ralph worked as a Chemistry Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. For 33 years he enjoyed pushing his students to work hard and often told stories about his excruciatingly difficult exams and the amazing students who did well on them. He valued lifelong friendships with his colleagues at UWEC.
Ralph and Norma had two children, Chad and Sara. The family loved to downhill ski and went on many family ski trips to the Rocky Mountains. Ralph and Norma continued skiing well into their 70’s.
They were active members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI.
Ralph retired in 1997 and spent much of his free time getting back to his roots in farming. He traveled back and forth to West Salem to help his father, Adolph Marking, and his brother, Arne Marking, run the family farm. He never lost his love of farming and especially his love of John Deere Tractors. He often rolled down the car window on family road trips to listen to John Deere engines plowing country fields. He spent many days of his retirement at tractor auctions collecting and restoring John Deere tractors.
Ralph and Norma enjoyed traveling during their retirement years with trips to Europe, Norway, Russia, China, Hawaii, Alaska and Australia. They also made many trips to South Dakota where Ralph enjoyed visiting with the Borah family. Recently, they moved to Richfield, MN, to spend more time near their daughter, Sara, and grandsons, Alex and Nikolas. They attended many of Alex’s Southwest High school Basketball games and Nikolas’s Keliix Soccer matches.
Ralph is survived by his loving wife Norma, his daughter Sara, two grandchildren Alexander and Nikolas Fischer, his brother Arne Marking, two sisters, Anne (Myrvin) Christopherson, Ingrid (Gary) Wynveen, brother-in-law Stan Sollie, his many nieces and nephews, family and friends.
Ralph is preceded in death by his son Chad Marking, his parents Adolph and Esther Marking, his sister Dagny Sollie, a sister-in-law Lois Borah, a brother and sister-in-law Carmon and Olga Borah, and his parents-in-law Lenora and James Carroll Borah.
A visitation will be held at 10:00 AM and the memorial service at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 12, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 359 Leonard St South, West Salem, WI, 54669.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to UWEC Foundation Chemistry Department Scholarships, 105 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Condolences may be expressed online at: https://www.gillbrothers.com/obituaries/ralph-h-marking