Ralph Eldon Davis passed away peacefully at Altenheim Senior Living in Indianapolis, IN on Friday April 29th, 2022 at the age of 101.
He was surrounded by the thoughts, prayers, and presence of all those that loved him. His exuberant, full, and loving life can be summed up in action by the words faith, family, and service.
Ralph was born on October 8th, 1920 in Brookville, IN to Roy Vernon and Hariett Olive Davis.
Ralph was the second of four siblings, born after Chester, followed by Howard, then his sister, Ruth. He attended Odon Elementary and Odon High School but transferred to Emmanuel High School in Indianapolis for his junior and senior year. He then took business courses at Indiana Central University (now the University of Indianapolis) beginning in the fall of 1938, earned his degree in 1942 before his entrance into military service for the United States Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison in July of that year.
Ralph served during World War II, departing from Boston, MA on October 31st, 1944 on the USS America. He camped for three nights outside Liverpool before taking the train to Southampton by way of Bristol. He crossed the English Channel on Christmas night via a Polish freighter and landed in Le Havre, France on December 26th, 1944. Le Havre Harbor had been bombed so extensively his company had to disembark by rope ladders onto LCIs to shore. He spent the next 17 months at 201st General Hospital in France, serving as a Surgical Technician, prepping and sterilizing equipment and preparing patients for operations. He supervised a team of 15 surgical technicians and kept records pertaining to the history of each operation during his tenure.
He returned home on March 7th, 1946 after 3 years, 7 months, and 15 days of service. Later that year, he began work at Sears Roebuck and it was there in the fall of 1948 that Ralph fell in love with Phyllis Ann Miller. She worked in records, which was one of the departments he managed. They were engaged a year later and then married February 26th, 1950 at Southeastern Union Church by Ralph’s father, Roy, the pastor. Phyllis and Ralph became parents to two children, Richard Eldon and Marcia Ann. Ralph and Phyllis remained married for 64 years before Phyllis passed on March 7th, 2014.
After leaving Sears Roebuck in 1954, Ralph began at A.B. Dick Co. where he worked until his retirement in 1985. Though Ralph retired from his career, he never stopped working to be of service to his family, friends, and community. Dick Holloway, Ralph’s dear friend who he rst met volunteering with Joan White at the Community Church of Southport, had this to say, “Ralph certainly made a deference in my life. Everything about him was special to me.” He added, “He was also good on the green,” referring to the Lifepoint Church Scramble, a golf outing that Ralph helped host. Dick’s sentiment, about Ralph making a deference, about being special, is one that everyone who encountered Ralph share in common.
During his three decades of volunteer work for UIndy’s athletic department, Ralph was named the Greyhound Club’s “I” Person of the Year in 1990-1991, voted into the Greyhound Club’s Hall of Fame in 2002, named the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) “Volunteer of the Year'' in 2003, and received the US Presidential Volunteer of the Year Award in 2014. Matt Donovan, Senior Associate A.D. for Development at UIndy, said this about Ralph’s legacy, “He worked hard, stayed behind the scenes, and never wanted any of the credit. You won’t nd anyone so committed, so loyal.” When asked about his fondest memory of personal achievement, Ralph did not miss a beat before citing his volunteer work for the Greyhound Club, caring for close to 700 athletes a year in 23 deferent sports.
As a testament to the man Ralph has always been, friends and family put together a video to wish him a happy 100th birthday in 2020. Besides the numerous friends from various communities that Ralph helped foster and the generations of family that were eager to celebrate him, he received well-wishes from the likes of Governor Holcomb and coaching sta from the Indianapolis Colts. Ralph kept his family close, his friends in mind, and his communities at heart. His warmth and spirit have always been far-reaching and will reverberate through countless lives and circles forever.
Ralph was a member of Lifepoint Church, the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, and Greyhound Club. He is survived by his son Richard Eldon Davis and wife Jenny, his daughter Marcia Ann Davis and her husband Steven Marshall, his grandchildren, Whitney Sullivan, Danielle Marshall, Weston Marshall, and Lusha Li. He is also survived by great grandchildren Olive Sullivan, Arlo Sullivan, Oriana Crosley, and his siblings Howard Davis and Ruth Ellen Fisher.
The Service of Remembrance for Ralph Eldon Davis will take place on Monday, May 9th at LifePoint Church, 8540 Combs Road, Indianapolis, IN, with praise gathering at 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. A memorial service will follow at 11:30 a.m.
Bural will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to LifePoint Church Ralph Davis mission fund.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center