Ralph M. Vara, age 89. Died peacefully on February 25th 2015. Ralph was born on February 8, 1926 and never ceased to amaze us with his courage, intelligence and determination. Graduating early from Shaw High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines Corps at age 17. Serving in the Pacific Theatre during WW II, he fought in the Iwo Jima campaign as a member of the Fifth Division, Fox Company. Ralph completed his military career as part of the occupying forces in Japan. Ralph returned home and, taking advantage of the GI Bill, earned a business degree from Bowling Green State University where he met the love of his life, Mildred (née Mulligan). Ralph and Mildred were married for 60 years before her death in 2013.
Enjoying a long career with Reliance Electric, Ralph traveled the globe as part of his contract administration duties. He found time to chair or become active in many civic organizations, including the YMCA, Little Hoover Commission, Golden Age Centers and Cleveland Baseball Federation. Ralph lived a life of service. He was a member of the St. Paschal Baylon parish and volunteered on a number of community projects for Mayfield Village. He loved reading, especially histories and biographies. Ralph relished a fine meal, from soft shell crabs in New Orleans to pasta in Providence. Ralph devoted himself to his family. He provided wise advice and encouragement, and was always ready with a lesson to impart. Ralph put the needs of his family first and took tremendous pride in their growth and accomplishments. Ralph led a rich life, shaped by a strong will and a certainty in what mattered. Admired and respected by family and friends, he will be greatly missed.
Ralph is survived by his children, Tom (MaryJo), Tim (Karen), Kathy (Thomas) and Andy (Kari); grandchildren, Allison (Brendan), Joseph, Carolyn, Ellen, Emily, Tyler, Nathan, Brianna and Arianna; brother Mike (Barbara) Vara and sister Gloria Missar; and many nieces and nephews.
Besides his wife, Ralph is preceded in death by his sister Angela (Earl) Springborn, Phyllis (Rich) Valore and a brother-in-law Paul Missar.
Relatives and friends are invited to meet for the Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at St. Paschal Baylon Catholic Church at 10 AM. Entombment following with Military Honors at Knollwood Cemetery, in Mayfield Heights. Family will receive friends to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Ralph at THE DeJOHN-FLYNN-MYLOTT FUNERAL HOME OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS, 28890 CHARDON ROAD (between Bishop Rd. and Rt. 91) Monday 3-5 and 6-8 PM.Print This Obituary & Condolences