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.
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Ronda & Curt Grosse
Dear Andy and family,
You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this sad time.
What a wonderful life and legacy your father has – such a blessing to your family and so many.
Curt, Ronda, Hannah and Megan
Hoping that your loving memories will carry you through this difficult time in your life!!! So sorry for your huge loss! Uncle Ralph will be greatly missed by all. We are keeping you all in our prayers. Hopefully, we will be down for the funeral.
Kathy,Tom, and family, so sorry for your loss. RALPH WAS A GREAT MAN! Sorry I can not attend wake or funeral due to work. My thoughts n prayers are with all of you. Take care. SINCERELY ,Patty Obolnar
Sorry for your loss Zimmermann family. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Patty Obolnar
joan missar beckwith
My sincere sympathy to the Vara family.
The Babinszki Family
Dear Andy, Kari, and family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Katie, Tamas, Emily, and Yvette
Ralph was the best, I still work for Dodge Reliance (Baldor/ABB now), 41 years. And I am a Shaw Cardinal and a BGSU Falcon. Ralph treated the salesforce as his family and was the best at his job.
John T. Davis
Dear Vara Family:
I had the privilege to work with and for and be mentored by Ralph for several years at RGO on Euclid Avenue. There were quite a few Reliance Managers that were real men of honor and excellence in that era, and certainly Ralph was not only one of them, but a leader of them and us all by his example of dedication, fairness and good humor ( especially in many a stressful business conflict situation that crossed his desk to solve)
I had an assignment once to fly with Ralph to Brussels on very short notice to solve a serious commercial issue with a Belgian customer. Ralph forgot to pack an extra shirt so after we arrived in Brussels the local salesman took us to the salesman’s favorite men’s clothing store in Brussels so Ralph could buy a shirt for the next day’s meeting. The shirts at the store started about $100 , some $200….very nice shirts indeed. Ralph looked at the prices and said – “you know, I think I can wear my current shirt 2 days in a row, might make tomorrow’s meeting go faster” ! PS: and Ralph solved the business problem promptly and fair to all and we returned to Cleveland him still in the shirt. We had a good laugh about Shirt prices in Europe that Reliance Salesmen thought was a normal price for months afterwards.
Semper FiI Ralph!
David M. Lonibos
Tim Vara and Family –
I am very sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I recently loss my father (Feb. 17, 2015), and your father’s life reminds me of my father . . . a Marine, a love for fine foods, active in civic organizations, and a family man. What a GREAT man to have in your life! May his memories, and the love, prayers and support of family and friends give you comfort and peace in your loss. May God bless you and your family!
Dear Vara Family,
Our deepest condolences for you and your loved ones.
The Simmons Family
Ralph was the best neighbor anyone could ask for. I had the pleasure of visiting with Ralph many times during this trying last year. We shared good conversation and plenty of laughs. He was a good man & I will miss our visits. Sorry I could not attend services or visiting hours as I was out of town.
Rest in Peace dear Ralph!