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Ralph Emerson Johnson
March 23, 1921 ~ November 19, 2017
November 23, 2017
Ralph Emerson Johnson, 96, passed quietly into his savior's arms on Sunday, November 19, 2017. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 25, at The Crossing, E715 Travois Way, Moscow.

The second of six children, Ralph was born March 23, 1921, on the family farm outside of Camp Point, Illinois, to Russell and Hazel Maude (Kestner) Johnson.

Ralph only completed eighth grade - it was during the Depression, his father had left home and Ralph needed to get a job to help support the family. He moved from Illinois to be with his brother Roy in Washington, finding work at White Pine Mill in Kettle Falls.

It was there that he met his first wife, Margaret (Reed), who was working as a cook at the mill. They were married in September of 1940.

Between 1942 and 1946 they had three children; Wilma, Ken and Ron.

Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. He deployed to the Pacific and served in the Philippines, then after the war in the occupation forces in Japan.

In 1946, Ralph was discharged from the military and returned home to his family in Kettle Falls, where he found work in logging and at Avey Brothers Mill.

Three more children; Bonita, Joleen and Lanie, were born during this period. In May of 1955, the family moved to Spokane, where Ralph operated a service station. After a few years he gave up the service station and found jobs outside of Spokane operating heavy equipment, building roads and installing power lines.

His search for reliable work brought him to Colorado, but the separation from family ultimately caused a divorce from Margaret.

He found more construction work and sold tires in Grand Junction, Colorado. He also met Norma Sheets, a widow, and her children, Gordon, Donald and Sandy. Ralph and Norma were married April 5, 1964; they had one child together, Tom.

A combination of job-hunting and family health issues landed Ralph's new family in Lewiston, where he worked for Massey Ferguson and Washington State University. Ralph was valued for his ability to fix anything.

After his retirement, Ralph and Norma moved up to Moscow in 1999, near the families of Gordon, Donald, Sandy and Tom.

A man who could easily talk with anyone, Ralph made many friends through his involvement with Kiwanis.

In 2013, Ralph and Norma agreed to move in with Steve and Sandy to be near family in their golden years. As Ralph's health declined over the past year, he was welcomed into Precious Elders care home in Pullman.

Ralph is survived by Norma, his wife of 53 years, their son Tom, of Moscow, stepdaughter Sandy (Steve) Otto, Moscow, stepson Gordon Ray Sheets, Pahrump, Nevada, six children from his first marriage, Wilma (Larry) DeVore, Bonners Ferry, Ken (Becky), Spokane, Ron (Debbie), Otis Orchards, Washington, Bonita (Keith) Hammer, Boise, Joleen (Bill), Boise, and Lanie (Randy) Ralph, Bonners Ferry, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He also is survived by sisters Norma Warrick, Quincy, Illinois, and Nadine Garlinger, Nashville, Michigan, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by stepson Donald and brothers Roy, Gus and Rollie.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short's Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and condolences may be left at