Landscapes 09

Ralph Earl Ward

July 23, 1927 ~ September 14, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
Obituary Image


Ralph Earl Ward, 96, died peacefully at his home on September 14, 2023. Services will be held on Saturday, October 21 at 10:00 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City. Interment will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery with a reception following the service at the Presbyterian Church.

Ralph, son of Clyde and Leonora (Renz) Ward, was born on July 23, 1927. He was a 1945 graduate of Baker High School and went on to attend Oregon State College where he joined the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.

In 1946, after two terms in college, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Korea. After serving his country he returned to Oregon State and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Agricultural Education. He then returned to Baker County and began farming full time with his dad and brother. He married Alice Osborn on August 26, 1951, and together they raised three children and built a life full of family and farming.

Ralph took great pride in being of service to his community and the agriculture industry. He was honored by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences as a Diamond Pioneer for his work with agriculture, government, and education. He served as president at the local and state levels of the Oregon Wheat Growers League and was chair of the Oregon Wheat Commission. In this position he traveled internationally to support trade missions. He was also a member of the Baker County Livestock Association, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, Director of the Blue Mountain Potato Growers Association, Chair of Baker County 5J School Board and Budget Board, Superintendent of Baker Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, and Director of Anthony Lakes Ski Corporation. Ralph served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative and enjoyed serving on this board for 21 years. In 1987, he was elected to the position of Baker County Judge (currently known as commission chair). He was instrumental in getting the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Hughes Lane improvement project established.

Ralph supported many local and state organizations with his time and was generous in helping others. He was proud to have been a member of the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol for eighteen years. In addition, he was previously a member of Rotary International, the Leo Adler Foundation, and the Oregon State ER Jackman Friends and Alumni organization. He a long time member of the Elks Lodge and the First Presbyterian Church.

His love of life was evident in Ralph’s many hobbies and interests. He enjoyed water and snow skiing, hunting and fishing, radio controlled airplanes, photography, reading and golf. He and Alice traveled extensively with friends and family. Early on there were local day trips and then long road trips across the country. Later they traveled all over the world - Europe, China, Russia, Chile, and Mexico to name a few.

Ralph loved his family and enjoyed the numerous celebrations and family dinners, including feeding the dogs morsels under the table. He was proud of, and took a great interest in, his children’s and grandchildren’s activities and accomplishments. As a lifelong learner and avid reader, he stayed up on current events and embraced new technology, using the internet to learn to cook new dishes as well as operating his new smart phone.

Ralph was noted for his storytelling and always seemed to have a new story that he hadn’t previously shared. He was proud of being able to put these stories into his recent book about family and farming. He made people feel at ease and enjoyed spending time with his many friends.

Farming was his passion, and he was still involved after his semi-retirement in 1992. He was often found driving around checking on fields or monitoring and working on an irrigation pivot. He drove the combine on August 31st of this year, his 81st consecutive year of participating in wheat harvest.

Ralph will be remembered for his vitality, resiliency and spirit and will be greatly missed.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 72 years, Alice; their three children, Kathy (Harold Crawford) Ward, of Woodland, CA, Mark (Lisa) Ward of Baker City, and Craig (Cherie) Ward of Baker City; four grandchildren, Morgan Ward, Alyssa (Jordan) Ferguson, Calli Ward, and Matthew Ward; and two great- grandchildren, Chloe and Lauren Ferguson.
He was preceded in death by his parents Clyde and Leonora, his brother, Alvin, and sister, Charlotte, infant son, Brian, and infant granddaughter, Jacquelynn.

Memorial contributions may be made to Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol or the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Avenue, Baker City, OR 97814.




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ralph Earl Ward, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Ralph Earl Ward?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Ralph's memory.


Memorial Service
October 21, 2023

10:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church (Baker City, Oregon)
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial Service begins

October 21, 2023

11:30 AM
First Presbyterian Church (Baker City, Oregon)
Guaranteed delivery before the Reception begins

Interment following funeral service
October 21, 2023

Mt. Hope Cemetery
South Bridge Street
Baker City, OR 97814


© 2023 Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility