Ralph Sperber passed away Thursday, May 12, 2011, following a stroke
and a short but intense battle with cancer. He lived 79 years, leading a very happy, fulfilled and regret-free life!
He was born Ralph Albert Sperber on April 30, 1932, in Walla Walla. He was the son of Edward A. and Erna M. (Herold) Sperber. Ralph graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1950. During his early years he was involved in Scouting and earned his Eagle Badge along with the Order of the Arrow. He later served as pack master in both Wallace and Couer D'Alene, Idaho, continuing to share his love of Scouting. He was drafted into the Army in 1952, during the Korean Conflict and spent the better part of his military duty stationed in Soporo, Japan. He was attached to Headquarters Company 1-8 Cavalry. Upon discharge from the Army as corporal he attended Kinman Business College in Spokane, where he earned his masters accounting degree. Ralph was a lifelong member of the Elks and the American Legion. Ralph enjoyed fishing, golf, Nascar and frequent trips to the Oregon Coast.
In 1954 Ralph was married to D. Frances (Whiteman) Sperber . They divorced in 1979, but remained very close friends until her death in 2010. That union produced three children, Martin R. Sperber, Kathryn F. McFarland and Jill A. Sperber. Ralph married Marva Winterbottom in 1980, but that also ended in divorce in 1985.
For Ralph, sales was his life. He loved the contacts, the customers and the challenge of the job. He began his lengthy career in sales in Wallace, Idaho, selling insurance. He switched from selling insurance to
selling mining and logging equipment for the Couer D'Alene Company in Wallace. Ralph continued selling heavy equipment and trucks for the next 42 years. Sales took him not only to the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest, but as far away as Peru. In the late 1970s he was the manager for American Machine Company's Lewiston location, the International Harvester dealership. A few more notable sales jobs involved R A Hanson of Spokane, where he sold canal building equipment, which is the challenge he faced in South America. His last job before retirement was working with Ralph and Steve Wessels of Lake City Truck, formerly known as Tisco Parts and Machine. He worked well into retirement age because there was nothing he loved more and nothing else he wanted to do but his job!
In his final years preceding his retirement, Ralph earned the nickname "Chief," which stuck with him for some people to this day. This nickname was further augmented with another nickname where he became known affectionately as "Norm." Ralph attained many close friends among places such as the Tapedara, BoJack's and Phoenix Mountain. The spot at the end of the bar at Bo's will always be known as "Norm's" spot!
Ralph was preceeded in death by his parents, Edward and Erna Sperber. Also preceeding him was his daughter, Jill, in 1961. Ralph is survived by his brother, Donald Sperber of Walla Walla; his son, Martin Sperber of Walla Walla; his daughter, Kathryn and spouse Jerry McFarland of Clarkston; grandchildren, Vicki Bowyer of Vancouver, Wash., Jacob Kuther of Seattle, Jesse Sperber of Boise, Jason Sperber, an Army Ranger attached to Fort Lewis, Wash., Zachary Berghammer, stationed with the Army 1-8 Cav in Okinowa, Japan, Justin McFarland of Clarkston; two great-grandsons and four great-granddaughters. Ralph will be interred in the Garden of Honor at Lewis Clark Memorial Gardens with Military Honors on Saturday, May 21, at 10 a.m. Per his wishes a brief graveside service will be held officiated by Pastor Scott Juergens of the Trinity Lutheran Church. Mountain View Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
The family suggests memorials be made to the American Legion in lieu of flowers.