Service Time:  10:30 A.M.
Day and Date:  Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Location:  St. John Lutheran Church - Russell, Kansas
Visitation and Guest Book Registration: 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at the mortuary in Russell.
Family Visitation:   6 P.M. to 7 P.M. on Tuesday Evening, May 18, 2010 at the mortuary in Russell.
Graveside Services:  St. John Lutheran Cemetery - Russell, KS
Memorials:  St. John Lutheran Church of Russell


Ralph Dumler, 89, of Lakeview Village, Lenexa, formerly of Russell, KS, died peacefully in his sleep on May 15. Visitation will be held at Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Funeral Home in Russell from 6 to 7 p.m., Tue., May 18. Funeral services at St. John Lutheran Church in Russell at 10:30 a.m., Wed., May 19 and interment at Russell Lutheran Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to St. John Lutheran Church for a permanent Christ Candle to be present at baptisms and confirmations or to the meditation garden at the church--425 North Main, Russell, KS 67665.

Ralph was born to Magdalena and Alexander Dumler on March 30, 1921, joining his brother Leon, 2.  It was a difficult birth; he arrived early. Magdalena died from complications just one day later.  Unable to care for an infant, Alex bestowed the care of Ralph to his wife’s brother Peter Boxberger and Peter’s wife Amelia. Family lore suggests Ralph was small enough to fit into a shoebox, kept warm on the open oven door and fed goat’s milk.

When Ralph was three, Alex married Magdalena’s sister Lydia, and Ralph re-joined the Dumler family on the farmstead southwest of Russell. He was eventually joined by three more brothers, Kenneth, Frank and Roger. During the Great Depression when labor was abundant, Alex and Lydia built a brick house on the home place, where Ralph and his wife Delma eventually lived.

Ralph attended Belmont Elementary, a one-room schoolhouse two miles from home by foot, Russell High School, and St. John Lutheran Church, where he was confirmed. Ralph remembered helping his dad with the crops and animals, playing with cousins and fishing with his Uncle Pete, who continued to love him like a son throughout his life.

A fateful day in Ralph’s life was attending a wedding dance in Voda, KS, where he met  the love of his life, Delma Deines,  also from the Russell area. She and Ralph often double-dated with Delma’s sister Edna and her boyfriend Ed Mai.

Ralph and Delma married on September 7, 1941, when he was 20 and she was 18, just three months before the United States entered World War II. They lived in a tiny house on Main Street, where Ralph’s Uncle Pete would often rap at the door quite early, checking whether the “kids” were up yet.

Just months into their marriage, Ralph was drafted into the Army. He received basic training in Hawaii and left directly from Hawaii for Australia. Throughout the war he worked in the Signal Corps. He wrote frequently to Delma, and she to him, although much of what he wrote to her was edited out by the Army.  Delma had moved back home with her parents in Russell, as had her sister Edna and Edna’s young son, Gerald. Together with thousands of young wives across the country, they awaited the end of the war and their boys coming home. Delma found a job working for a young insurance agent in Russell, Louis Mai.

As a teletype officer, Ralph was among the first on the continent to learn of the “Japanese capitulation.” The war was over. Ralph, having acquired a slight Australian accent, returned home to resume his marriage and his farming. He and Delma moved to the home place southwest of Russell. On December 1946, Ralph and Delma were blessed with the birth of their daughter Patricia. The birth of Leanna in 1951 made their family complete.

The 50s and 60s were largely occupied with tending the wheat and occasional cows and chickens, being involved in numerous church activities, hunting and fishing and serving on the school board at Center School. Being a wheat farmer allowed Ralph to spend more hours with his family than is often possible for fathers today. For leisure, Ralph and Delma and the girls often visited with family members. The adults gathered around the bridge table and the kids played out of sight until dessert was served.

Ralph’s father and his Uncle Pete both passed away when Ralph was a young man. In the years that followed, Ralph was mentored by a number of friends and family members who made a big impact on his life. His Uncle Herman Langholz guided Ralph’s religious journey, Mike Polcyn taught him the fine points of goose hunting,  Billy Morris taught him to enjoy life in general, especially at Lake Wilson.  Delma’s father Ferd Deines provided frequent, fierce competition at the snooker table. Kenny Dole led Ralph into the world of oil investment--with varying results. Many fine duplicate bridge players at the Hays bridge studio ushered Ralph and Delma into the next level of bridge, resulting in their entering and often winning tournaments throughout the Midwest.

Health concerns caused Ralph to retire from farming in 1980. Shortly thereafter, he and Delma built a house on 7th Street in Russell. Added to his former activities, Ralph became more involved in daily visits to his elderly mother Lydia and his Aunt Amelia. He stopped daily at Edward Jones to check on investments and catch up on news. He and Delma took frequent bus trips in the United States and traveled abroad to see Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands, the Caribbean Islands, Venezuela and much of Europe. In addition, they traveled to Kansas City, where both daughters had settled, to watch the progress of their four grandchildren and witness their important milestones.

Delma’s declining health prompted a move in 1999 to a retirement community, Lakeview Village, in Lenexa, KS, close to both daughters. They quickly joined a Lutheran Church, made friends with other relocated seniors and discovered new bridge partners, pool partners and fishing buddies. Ralph volunteered for coffee duty, placing pots of coffee each morning in the apartment lobby.

In 2005 Ralph moved to the Centerpointe Care Center at Lakeview Village. Delma maintained their nearby apartment and visited him nearly every day until her death in 2007, playing honeymoon bridge by the hour.  Ralph adapted well to life at Centerpointe, thanks to loving care by staff, frequent Bingo, Uno and bat- the-balloon games, live music, special licks from special dogs and daily visits by his friends and daughters.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, his wife, a nephew, and two infant great grandsons. He is survived by his daughters Patricia Loriaux and husband Peter, Leanna Walters and husband David; four grandchildren, Ryan Loriaux and wife Shannon, Renee Weatherman and husband Steve, Zach Walters, and Nathan Walters; and four great grandchildren, Nicholas Loriaux, Isabel Loriaux,  Ian Weatherman, and Erik Weatherman.   He will be remembered for his good-heartedness and love of children.

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