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In Memory of Ralph Thompson

Gathering of Friends & Family

4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Monday October 26, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Eastern Star Service

6:30 pm - 6:45 pm
Monday October 26, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Masonic Service

6:45 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday October 26, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Tuesday October 27, 2020
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
1350 Florence Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Ralph W. Thompson, 81, of Baldwin, WI, passed away unexpectedly the morning of Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin, WI. Ralph was born on November 13, 1938 to parents Iver R. & Gena (Hugdahl) Thompson in Baldwin, WI. He was the tenth of 15 children; 11 boys & 4 girls. Ralph attended Cloverleaf School, their neighborhood country school. Parents furnished noon meals for the students back then, but because of the size of the Thompson family, their mother, Gena, made the majority of those meals. Ralph attended Baldwin High School & graduated with the class of 1956. He then attended one year of college at UW-River Falls. Ralph married Lorraine “Lori” McKilligan, & were the proud parents of three daughters: twins, Joan & Julie, & two years later, Jill.

In 1969, Ralph started his own business, “Ralph’s Electric”, retiring after 33 years in business.  His original line of work was doing electrical work in houses, barns and pole sheds, as well as commercial & dairy refrigeration. He worked with the Baldwin Creamery in hooking up the first bulk tanks for area farmers. This led Ralph to take on a dealership of Bou-Matic milking equipment & Dari Kool bulk tanks. This was a changing time in the dairy business, as every farm had their own herd of milk cows.

Ralph loved snowmobiling and was an active member of the Baldwin Flakechasers club. He was one of a handful who decided to ride from Baldwin to Hayward at a time that this was unheard of– this was quite an adventure.  Since he couldn’t ride his snowmobile in the summer he started riding motorcycles.  Ralph & his buddies rode their Harleys to the Black Hills of South Dakota for 16 consecutive years. In 2008, Ralph & his brother, Bruce, went on a 4-week, 5,200 mile-long trip through Colorado, California, Oregon, Montana, & the Dakotas, visiting family along the way.  

Ralph and Lori enjoyed traveling, including trips to Germany, Hawaii, Alaska and much of the continental U.S., including a trip to Yellowstone on their Harley.  In his later years of poor health, Ralph enjoyed jigsaw puzzles; doing 40,000 pieces worth of them in the last 10 months.

Ralph was a loyal member of the Collins-Spring Valley Masonic Lodge in Baldwin for 54 years where he served as Master of the lodge 4 times. He was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and was presently the Worthy Patron. Ralph was also a member of the St. Croix Valley Shrine Club & Zor Shriners.

Surviving Ralph’s passing are his wife of 61 years, Lorraine; daughters, Joan (Dale) Brathol, Julie Thompson, & Jill (Steve) Balsiger; grandchildren, Lauren (Ky) Kaminski, Dane (Alexandra) Brathol, Alex (Kendra) Balsiger & Adam (Emmie) Balsiger; 3 great-grandchildren; siblings, Jean Swenby, Eileen Duvall, George “Bud” Thompson, Bruce Thompson, Jerry Thompson, & Linda Mulheron; as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family, & friends. Preceding him in death are his parents, Iver & Gena Thompson; siblings, Doug Thompson, Stanley Thompson, Malcolm “Mick” Thompson, Donnie Thompson, Gordon Thompson, Kathleen Schmidt, Steve Thompson, & Mark Thompson; brothers-in-law, Vearl Swenby & Norman Duvall; sisters-in-law, Betty Thompson & Doris Thompson.

There will be a Gathering of Ralph’s Friends & Family from 4:00-6:30 P.M, Monday, October 26, 2020 at O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 1010 Newton St. Baldwin, WI 54002, 715-684-3434, followed by Eastern Star & Masonic Services. A Memorial Service for Ralph will be held at 2:00 P.M, Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 1350 Florence St. Baldwin, WI 54002, with a one-hour visitation preceding the service. Interment will take place at Hammond Cemetery, Hammond, WI.

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Ralph's Tribute Wall

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    • Uncle Ralph, you will be missed

      We all have lots of memories to reflect on

      For that we thank you

    • I am not sure how old I was, but Uncle Ralph took me snowmobiling. Probably one of the only times I ever went snowmobiling. Holidays Ralph always had a smile and his laugh…I can still hear it!

      Sorry for your loss Aunt Lori, Joan, Julie and Julie and family!

    • I love you so much dad… I’ll miss you every day.
      I’ll always remember helping you with the air vent in the old house. You were too weak to climb into the attic so you were instructing me as to what to do from a chair in Joan and Jill’s old room. When I came down the ladder and you asked me if I got it fixed, you said the words that made me so proud to be your daughter….you said “that’s my girl”! RIP Dad. Ju