Merced Sun Star, Jan. 9, 2008


Ralph Navarro was born in Michoacan, Mexico on February 22, 1917 and passed away in Merced, California on January 3, 2008 at the age of 90 years.
Ralph was five years old when he left Mexico with his mother, brother, sister and two uncles. There was promise of work in the lumber mills east of Merced. Just before Ralph's 6th birthday, the family settled in Merced Falls. His mother remarried and his family
peaked at eight boys and three girls. He attended eight years of school in Merced Falls. Ralph then commuted 24 miles by bus for 4 years to Merced High School, graduating in 1936. Ralph is very proud of the fact that in his senior year, when he was 18 years old, he was selected to drive the bus.
Ralph worked in the lumber mills for the years prior to World War II. He learned what was to be his life's work, a Building Estimator. He married Viola Rogina in 1941 and entered the war in 1942. Ralph was a member of the Army Air Corps serving in Guadacanal, the Philippines and Japan until the war ended in 1945. In 1946, Ralph helped to startthe Yosemite Builders Supply Company, a career span of 46 years. He spent 35 years as the Manager. His son Joey, was born in 1947, Viola and Ralph's only child.
Ralph played semi-professional baseball for at least 35 years, playing a solid first base. He became an avid golfer, making many friendships. He also began a life-long membership with the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ralph's first wife died in 1973. In 1975, Ralph began a second family. He married Irene Coatney, who had two adult children. Her daughter, Cindy Miller-Montoya became a loving daughter to him, and her two children, his beloved grandchildren. Joey had two children, who adored their grandfather. Ralph enjoyed a total of five great grandchildren.
Visitation has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 9, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. at Stratford Evans Merced Funeral Home.
A Recitation of The Rosary will be held on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society 301 East 18th Street Merced, Ca 95340.
Arrangements are under the direction of Stratford Evans Merced Funeral Home.