He was born February 12, 1935, in Hawkeye, Iowa, to Lyle and Adele (Nehls) Knox. Ralph attended Waucoma Public Schools in Waucoma, Iowa, graduating in 1953. He was a veteran of the United States Army having served from 1955 until 1958, and was decorated as a rifle marksman and an expert SMG marksman. After his military service, Ralph was employed at the John Deere Implement Factory in Waterloo, Iowa, as a fork lift driver and line worker for 30 years. On November 30, 1991, he married Jean (Groves) Bartelson at the Houston Baptist Church, Houston, Minn. Ralph then became a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Caledonia and he looked forward to the Wednesday morning men’s Bible study. He also was a member of the Loveless-Eikens American Legion Post 191 of Caledonia. Ralph enjoyed woodworking and making many items for his family, skeet shooting, hunting, communicating on his CB and Ham Radios, and spending time with his family, especially, his grandchildren and Jean’s daycare kids. Ralph also enjoyed eating and visiting with the regulars at the Redwood Café. Jean preceded Ralph in death on September 7, 2006.
Survivors include four children, Gary (Robin) Bartelson of Grand Forks, N.D., Sherry Massman-Bartelson of Caledonia, David Bartelson, Sr., (Sandi Blackstone) of Onalaska, Wis., and Patty Bartelson-Foellmi of Caledonia; grandchildren, Heather (Donovan) Mitchell and Brandon Bartelson, both of Grand Forks, N.D., Sherell (Dr. Joseph) Roche of Durham, N.C., Michelle Massman (Tony Schock), Bridgette (Chad) Blumenstein, and Michael Massman, all of Caledonia, Mitchel Massman of Winona, Minn., Bryan Massman (Cassie Kirchner) and Brianna Massman, both of Caledonia, April (Shawn) Nelson of La Crosse, David Bartelson, Jr., of Caledonia, Daniel Bartelson and Autumn Bartelson, both of Holmen, Derek Foellmi and Jamie Foellmi (Derek Freisinger), both of Brownsville, Minn., and Chelsea Foellmi (Kyle Blank) of La Crescent, Minn.; great-grandchildren, CJ Mitchell (Kyle Erdman), Lindsey Mitchell, Lexie Mitchell, and Landen Bartelson, all of Grand Forks, N.D., Christopher Roche of Durham, N.C., Jason and Anna Schock, Skye Massman-Welch, and Lavender and Querie Blumenstein, all of Caledonia, Owen Massman of Caledonia, Noah Massman of Budapest, Hungary, Sylus and Ileya Nelson of La Crosse, Alexis Koel of La Crescent, Braelynn Ostern of Caledonia, and Amara Freisinger of Brownsville, Minn.; two sisters, Dorothy Brummond of Waucoma, Iowa and Donna (Bruce) Hurd of Ottawa, Kan.; two brothers, LaVerne Knox and Duane (Rose Mary) Knox, both of Waucoma, Iowa; and a special friend of Ralph’s, Pat Palmer of Waterloo, Iowa.
In addition to his wife, Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; a great-grandchild in infancy, Purity Rose Massman-Welch; one sister-in-law, Delma Knox; and one brother-in-law, Ed Brummond.
Funeral services will be Monday, January 14, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Caledonia, Minn. Rev. Steven E. Meyer will officiate. Military honors will be rendered immediately following the services at the church by the Caledonia American Legion Post 191 and the United States Army Funeral Honor Guard. Burial will be in Swede Bottom Cemetery, rural Houston, Minn., at a later date. Friends may call at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until time time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at www.jandtfredrickson.com.