|88th Surprise birthday party. Ralph with wife Donna, son Paul, daughter Susan, her husband Dave, and their son, Michael. Photo taken May 18, 2014.|
Was born into spirit on June 13, 2014 in Norwich, NY.
He had fought a long battle with several health issues including cancer.
He was born May 19, 1926 in Campbell Hall, NY, a son of Emerson and Minnie (Alton) Davenport. He spent his childhood on their family farm in Orange County. A point of interest in his family line is that his grandfather Alton stowed away at 11 years old to come to America from Ireland.
Ralph graduated from Washingtonville High School in 1943. We last attended their 67th class reunion.
In 1944, he volunteered to join the US Army and was proud to say he “was a World War II Infantry veteran”. He saw action at the Battle of the Bulge and then mop operations in Belgium and Holland.
He had reenlisted. then his father died and he came home to run the family farm.
On November 27, 1948, he married Daphne Ruhlaman. They had 3 sons. Alan (Louise) 1949-1974, Robert (Helene) of Haw River, NC and Lee (Joy) of Lititz, PA. Three grandchildren , Michael (Tammy), Jonathan (Jacinda), and Jennefer (Brad) Weaver and 6 great grandchildren, Abby and Mikayla Weaver, Hope, Levi, Holly, and Maggie Davenport.
One sister, Beulah Odell predeceased him in 2002. Nieces Jan and Sunny, nephews Kevin and Lonnie survive. There were 2 other marriages. Constance Rose Zigman and Linda Lawton. His previous wives are deceased. Constance in 1979, Linda in 2006, and Daphne in 2011.
He moved to a farm in Sherburne with son Alan in 1968.
On August 22, 1975 he married Donna (Boice) King, who survives. Their children are daughter, Susan (David) Langenfeld, Palmyra, NY, son Paul Davenport, Sherburne, stepdaughter, Beth King (Scott Barra) of Rosendale, NY and grandson Michael Langenfeld.
He was a dairy farmer most of his life. He later worked at Bennett Ireland, Blue Seal Feeds, Gladding Corp. and as night security at Chenango Memorial Hospital. His last job was delivering The Press and Sun Bulletin in the village of Sherburne.
He was a Grange member from age 14. He often volunteered attending the back gate at the Chenango County Fair as well as preparing food at the Methodist Food booth. He loved to dance. He belonged to the Broken Square many years. He and wife, Donna, as well as their children and foster children all enjoyed this family activity.
He enjoyed volunteering, especially delivering meals-on-wheels. He delivered to Earlville, Symrna, and Otselic shut ins and checked on them. He received an award for driving 5000 miles delivering meals for 2002. He had a lifelong love of tractors and was an enthusiastic member of TOYS (Tractors of Yesteryears). His favorites were Farmall tractors. Ironicly, the night he died, he was wearing a t-shirt with tractors on it with the saying “Tractors Never Die”.
Other surviving family are Arthur and Margaret Boice, Willis (Red) and Sue Boice, all of Norwich, and Richard and Linda King of Schnectady. There were numerous foster children especially Kevin Jones (Teresa) of VA, Donald (Jennie) Rogers of Norwich, and Diana (Bernie) Brazee, of Oxford.
A celebration of his life will be on Monday, June 16th at 4 PM at the Dakin Funeral Home in New Berlin, NY with military honors. Rev. Lyle Linder will officiate. Memorial donations may be made to the Sherburne Fire Dept. whose EMTs have been so helpful and good to us. Or to the Norwich Rehab and Nursing Center whose staff were very caring and helped us through a difficult time.