Ralph Allen Kabrick was born May 5, 1947, in Spencer, Iowa, and passed away at his home in Spencer on May 22, 2019, at age 72. Ralph grew up playing with his sister Judy, his cousins, and the neighborhood children, riding bikes and playing ball. He attended Jefferson Elementary, and loved riding the bus while his father drove his daily route around Spencer and sometimes riding on his father’s horses, Boots and Bingo.
He attended Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minn., graduating in 1966. While there he worked on the farm and in the craft shop. His roommate and close friend, Doug Hamilton, said they enjoyed playing practical jokes and hanging out. After Doug returned from Vietnam, they reconnected and have remained lifelong friends. For one year, he attended Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md. He also went to Iowa Lakes Community College in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and earned his degree in heating and air conditioning repair.
In 1968, he took a job at McQuay’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Plant in Spirit Lake and worked there until the company closed. After that, he worked as the maintenance manager at Farmer’s Bank. It was during this time that he met Diana, who was a customer at the bank. They began dating and have been together for almost 25 years. One of his close friends says she was the “apple of his eye.” They enjoyed boating, motorcycling, or working on his home.
Ralph was known by his friends and family as a helper, which is probably what led him to become a volunteer firefighter in 1986. For 21 years, he was “a mainstay,” says his fellow firefighter and friend Denny Klatt, who served with him for 14 years. “He was always there, he was the guy who you could count on,” says Denny. During his time of service, Ralph was president of the Spencer Volunteer Fire Department and was the Assistant Chief for the Fire Department. His friend Denny also recalls a time they drove to Des Moines together to receive an award for raising the most money in their area for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Boot Drive. “Ralph was an encourager, to the other firefighters and to the families on the scenes when we answered calls,” he says.
He was preceded in death by his father, Howard Kabrick, of Spencer, Iowa, and his mother, Henrietta, also of Spencer; and his cousin Robert Vanderbilt, of Redlands, Calif. He is survived by his sister Judy (Edward) Rosaasen of Redlands, and their four children; his aunt Christine Vanderbilt, of Redlands; his special friend Diana Walvoord, of Spencer, and her granddaughter, Storm; and numerous cousins.