Ralph Joseph #2 (1921 - 2007)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Niemiec, Holda, Abramczak, Koehler, Oelhafen, Stroz, Anderson, Jura, Tecza, Kusek
----Sources: Thorp Courier (Thorp, WI.) September 12, 2007
Niemiec, Ralph Joseph (March 31, 1921 - September 8, 2007)
Ralph J. Niemiec, age 86, of Thorp, passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Marshfield, on Saturday, September 8, 2007.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at St. Bernard-St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Thorp. Fr. Keith Apfelbeck officiated and burial followed in New St. Hedwig’s Catholic Cemetery.
Visitation was held at Thorp Funeral Home on Monday, September 10, 2007, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. Rosary service, and at church, on Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. until time of service.
Ralph Joseph Niemiec was born on March 31, 1921 in Stevens Point, WI to Stanley and Aneila (Holda) Niemiec. At a young age, his family moved to Chicago where Ralph was raised and received his education. At the age of 14, Ralph went to Wallace, MI, for two years to live with his uncle and work on the family farm for room and board, earning about $17.00 over the two years. He returned to Chicago to work at a job his father had found for him, at a starting rate of 35¢ per hour, and later worked at Houidale Hershey in the automobile industry.
Ralph enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard in August of 1942, and served aboard the frigate "New Bedford," escorting convoys in the Atlantic Ocean to Algiers, North Africa. After WWII ended, Ralph was shipped to Guam for weather patrol duty until his discharge in March of 1946. After his discharge, he went back to work in the automobile industry. Ralph was united in marriage on May 7, 1949 to Helen Abramczak at St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church, in Thorp. They moved back to Chicago and worked there until retiring in 1974, at which time they moved to Rock Dam.
The years at Rock Dam were some of the most memorable and happy times the family shared together. Although it was a difficult decision, Ralph and Helen decided to move to the city of Thorp to enjoy the conveniences of town living. The transition from country to town was a little difficult, but they grew to love their home in Thorp with their bug free backyard and friendly neighbors. In their leisure time, Ralph and Helen would occasionally visit casinos, and Ralph especially enjoyed his Coast Guard reunions. He enjoyed playing cards with family and friends and watching World War II movies. He liked to stay active and enjoyed working on home improvement projects. Ralph was a member of Thorp American Legion Post 118 and VFW Post 9057.
Ralph’s most prized treasures in life were his precious wife (lovingly referred to as "Helch") and his children and grandchildren. His family can happily recall some of Ralph’s most commonly spoken phrases. These include "drop the body (when he was ready to take a nap); "everybody’s tired" (when he was ready to go to bed); and his greeting was often "HIYA HIYA." The last couple of months were difficult for Ralph and family, but what remained constant, was his strength, family support, and love and faith.
He is survived by his wife Helen of Thorp; six children: kenneth (Susan) Niemiec of Oak Lawn, IL, Janice (Bill) Koehler of Tinley Park, IL, Deb (Scott) Oelhafen of New Lenox, IL, Ronald (Stacy) Niemiec of Orland Park, IL, Denise (John) Stroz of Chicago Ridge, IL, and Karen (Jeff) Anderson of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; fifteen grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and one sister, Bernice Niemiec of Sun City, AZ.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; one daughter, Darlene Niemiec Jura; one brother, Edward Niemiec; and two sisters: Stella Tecza and Emily Kusek.
Thorp Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
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