Ralph William “Bill” Blakeman died of heart failure on March 7, 2012. He was 71.
Ralph was born in Steamboat Springs and grew up in Yampa and Meeker. He was called “Will” or “Bill” by the Blakeman family, “Ralph” by his loving wife and “Papa” by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and including all of the close family friends who became like his own children). He had many nicknames: Mr. Blakeman or Rackman, Father Time and Big Bill, which was given to him by his children, nieces, nephews and friends.
In March 1962, he married Shirley Finch, who he had met at a town dance. They enjoyed a loving, nurturing and adventurous 50 years together. He served in the U.S. Navy beginning Sept. 24, 1957, and was honorably discharged on May 16, 1960. His tour of duty was spent aboard the USS Maddox DD731. He was stationed in San Diego and spent some time in Japan.
Ralph enjoyed camping, boating, fishing, hunting and playing Uno and Old Maid with his girls. He enjoyed tinkering, fixing and building. He loved sporting his Raiders gear to start the bantering with family members about the Broncos. He loved to tease and joke and laugh with his family. He enjoyed country music; some of his favorite musicians were Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Charlie Pride.
His biggest joy was spending time teasing and joking with his beloved wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He always could get a laugh out of any of us. Words cannot express how deeply missed he is and what a void this has left in all of us. And if he were here, he surely would have something to say that would get us through this incredibly difficult time — “Go Raiders, boo Broncos.”
Father Time, we will miss you.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Ann Blakeman; two children, Colleena Kay Blakeman-Groves and son-in-law Robert Dale Groves, and Becky Jo Bigsby and son-in-law Quintin Wayne Bigsby; one grandchild, Abbigale Lynn Blakeman; one great-grandchild, Faye Lynn Blakeman; a brother, Lloyd Lee Blakeman; and three sisters, Florence Louise Oest, Kate B. Johnson and Alma R. Saindon.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Delpha Gaskel; his father, Calvin Russell; and his adopted mother, Julia May “Shorty” Tabor.
A service was held March 14, 2012, at Newcomer Funeral Home in Lakewood. Interment was at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Bill’s name to the American Heart Association.