The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 22, 2013

Ralph Umber

Published 1-22-13


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Ralph Umber, 93, of Lexington Nursing Home, Lexington, Okla., formerly of Watonga, Okla., passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.

Ralph Ernest Umber, son of William Umber and Julia Blanche Larison, was born March 1, 1919, on the farm northwest of Vici, Okla., that was homesteaded by his father in 1900.

He attended the rural school of Webster, later attending and graduating from Vici High in 1938.

He joined Vici Methodist Church at an early age, which his grandfather, John Henry Larison, helped to organize. He was very active in the church, serving in several departments. He was involved in MYF and also taught a boys Sunday school class for a few years.

At the age of 23, he was inducted into the Army on Oct. 20, 1942. He underwent basic training in field artillery in the mule pack division at Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Bliss, Texas.

On July 3, 1943, he was sent to Camp Stoneman, Calif., where he boarded a ship for Australia. He later went to New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, the Philippine Islands, Luzon, Manila, and entered Tokyo on Sept. 8, 1945, after the Japanese surrender. He was a member of the 99th Field Artillery of the 1st Cavalry Division with primary duties as a truck driver, hauling ammunition to the front lines for the field artillery guns. He received his honorable discharge from Fort Logan, Colo., on Oct. 29, 1945.

On Dec. 9, 1945, he married Velma Ruth Estes at her parents’ home near Hunter, Okla. To this union was born three sons, Ray Ernest, Rex William and Roger Lee.

He did farm work for others until moving to a farm three miles west of Watonga, Okla., on Sept. 8, 1947, where he continued farming and carpenter work. He built 57 pole barns, 19 steel bins, 15 round top-barns, 14 steel-frame buildings, four houses, 13 pump houses, and repaired/remodeled well over 100 structures in the Watonga area. He also did custom hay-cutting and baling.

He is survived by his sons, Ray and wife Saly of Buffalo, Wyo., Rex and wife Debbie of Purcell, Okla., and Roger and wife Wanda of Albuquerque, N.M.; four grandsons, Aaron, Adam, Bret and Ryan; two granddaughters, Emma and Sarah; and many other family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and two brothers, Lawrence of Coweta, Okla., and Harold of Stonewall, Okla. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Ruth.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. today, 2013, at First United Methodist Church, Watonga, Okla., with interment at 3 p.m. in Memorial Park Cemetery, Enid, Okla. Funeral arrangements are by Wilson-Little Funeral Home, Purcell, Okla.

Memorials can be sent to First United Methodist Church, Watonga, Okla., or the Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center.  

(Submitted by family)