Ralph Merklinger

March 18, 1926 ~ October 14, 2021 (age 95)



Ralph Merklinger passed away on October 14, 2021 in his Rocky Ford, Colorado home of 50 years.  Ralph was born March 18, 1926 in the small farming town of Plymouth to Henry and Anna Merklinger.  He was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plymouth, where his grandparents where original members at its founding in 1880.  In Plymouth, he attended parochial school through 8th grade and graduated from Plymouth public high school.  As a youth, during the Depression years, Ralph worked on family farms; his experiences there generated many of the amusing stories for which he is known.  He served in the U.S. Army and in Shizuoka Japan during the rebuilding immediately following World War II.  Aided by the GI Bill, Ralph obtained an Education degree from Kearney State Teachers College in Kearney, Nebraska.  He later obtained a Master’s degree in Secondary Education Administration from Colorado State College in Greeley.

Ralph developed a long-standing love of learning, which he was able to communicate to his students over the 40 years he worked in education.  After college, his first teaching assignment was at Meadow Grove High School in Nebraska, where he taught Industrial Arts and other subjects, simultaneously serving as Principal.  He maintained correspondence with many of the graduating class of that first year.  He later served as Superintendent of Meadow Grove School District.  Ralph was the High School Principal in South Sioux City for 11 years.  Then from 1971 - 1991 he was Principal of Rocky Ford High School in Rocky Ford, Colorado.  He was a strong supporter of students’ academic pursuits, dedicated many hours to supporting student sporting events, and had the opportunity to assist many students with their high school education.  After retirement, he enjoyed visiting with generations of former students.  Altogether, he had 20 years in education in Nebraska and 20 years in Colorado.

In retirement, Ralph served on the Rocky Ford City Council, Rocky Ford Housing Authority, Rocky Ford Tree Board, and Friends of the Library.  As hobbies, he enjoyed wood working and yard work.

Ralph married Clydella Baker on August 19, 1951 in rural Polk County, Nebraska.  They had four children:  Anita Lipton, Martin Merklinger, Matt Merklinger, and Marjory George.

Ralph is survived by his sister Ruth Stromberg, his four children, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and two brothers.

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 AM Monday, October 25, 2021 at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plymouth with Pastor Fred Berger officiating. Interment will follow in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery west of Plymouth. There will be no viewing. There will be a family prayer service held at 10:00 Monday at the church. Memorials are suggested to the church with the church elders in charge. Condolences may be left online at Harman-Wright Mortuary in Plymouth in charge of local arrangements.

A Memorial Open House will be held at the Gobin Building in Rocky Ford, Colorado from 2-5 pm on Saturday, October 23, with a short presentation at 2 pm.  A Christian Funeral will be held at 10 am on Sunday, October 24, 2021 at St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Las Animas, Colorado. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ralph, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
October 25, 2021

10:30 AM
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
108 E. HWY 4
Plymouth, Nebraska 68424

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