Ralph Merle Fishgrab passed away on Saturday December 21, 2019 ,Services for will be graveside at Fort Sill National Veteran's Cemetery Elgin, Ok on Friday December 27, 2019 at 9:00am with Chaplin Daniel Edwards officiating.
Ralph Merle Fishgrab was born in Gage,Ok to Gilbert Ralph and Rosa Melissa Fishgrab. Merle graduated high school as a Chama, New Mexico Wildcat in May 1957 having lettered in both band and sports. In June 1957, he joined the United States Navy and reported for boot camp at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in Illinois. He was assigned to the USS William H Wood (DDR 719) based at Norfolk, VA. During his four year service he did a Mediterranean cruise and was promoted to Radar Technician 3rd Class on merit. While on leave, he married Glenna Jean Black, his school sweetheart in a civil ceremony in LeMesa, TX on September26, 1959. After military service, he moved back to Chama, NM and started as a delivery driver and maintenance helper for Cotton Propane. He was soon promoted to head driver and qualified as a maintenance technician. During this time, Merle and Glenna had three children, Mark Allen, Melissa Christine, and Merle Bonner. After Glenna's death in July 1964, Merle accepted larger coverage areas and continued training until achieving Driver Dispatch Supervisor and Senior Maintenance Technician. During this time period, he met and married his second wife Jimmie Nell Smith on July12,1969 in Cartersville, OK. Son Jerry Wayne was soon added to the family. Merle and Jimme moved from Chama to Keota, OK in January 1971 for broader job opportunities, and a better education for their children. Merle started working at McAlester Army Ammunition Depot as a Civil Engineer Laborer and HVAC Apprentice. After promotion to HVAC Technician he accepted a position at Altus Air Force Base in Altus, OK in 1974. During his 27 years of civil service, he held positions as HVAC Technician, Base Housing Maintenence Supervisor, Housing Inspector, Inspections Supervisor, Civil Engineer Drafter, Civil Engineer, and Civil Engineer Supervisor before retiring in September 1998 as Civilian Chief of the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron. He received an Associate in Science degree from Western Oklahoma State College in January of 1975 and a Bachelor of Science Occupation Education Degree from Southern Illinois University in January of 1977. He had been a 3rd degree (Truth) Order of Odd Fellows and a life long member of the American Legion. After retirement he concentrated his time as a small rancher and helping raise his three youngest grandchildren. After Jimmie's passing in November 2006, Merle reawakened his love for two-step dancing and met third wife, Clay Nell Hunt at a senior's dance in Marlow, OK. They married in August 2009 in Waurika, OK, thus adding stepdaughter Deanna Lynn Butler to his family. Merle passed from this world December 21, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents Gilbert Ralph and Rosa Melissa, brother Dale Wayne, two wives Glenna Jean and Jimmie Nell. He is survived by his wife Clay Nell, three sisters Erma Ward, Carol Hibdon, and Joyce Falkner all of Bosque Farms, New Mexico, three sons; Mark Allen Fishgrab of Denver, CO, Merle Bonner Fishgrab of Mustand, OK and Jerry Wayne Fishgrab of Central High, OK, one daughter Melissa Christine Taylor of Katie, TX; one stepdaughter Deanna Lynn Butler of Marietta, OK, 8 grandchildren, 6 step-grandchildren, and a total of 16 great grandchildren.
Love you and miss you Pop