Ralph Leonard Duell, 90, passed away Monday, December 30, 2019, at the Salina Regional Hospital, following a short illness. He was the youngest child of Charles Cleveland Duell and Laura May (Thompson) Duell. He was born April 16, 1929 in the home of his grandparents, Thomas and Margaret (Coplen) Duell, at 1307 Broadway, Goodland.
Ralph grew up on the family farm, 17 miles north of Goodland. He attended country school in Cheyenne county two miles from their farm. He graduated from High School in Goodland in 1947. He made many life-long friends during his happy school days. He was a state finals wrestler in high school, losing only one match his senior year. In 1948 he received a wrestling scholarship to Colorado A&M (now CSU) in Fort Collins. He had a deep love for wrestling, and its lessons of preparedness and self-reliance, which he followed all of his life. He was well known throughout the area as an ambassador for wresting and volunteered over thirty years as a timekeeper for GHS.
Ralph, and brother Raymond, were early pioneers in soil conservation efforts in NW Kansas and Colorado. Together they built many of the first field terraces in the area. Ralph had a penchant for the work of soil and water conservation, and a desire to leave his land for the next generation in better condition than when he started. He served on the county Soil Conservation Board since its inception and received recognition for his leadership at the district level. Farming and ranching were his life and his love.
With his sister Margaret’s help, Ralph met the other love of his life, Wava Nadine Chadd, during their college years. They were married, July 30, 1950. That fall, they both began teaching in the Edson school district. He taught there and in country schools for five years, before devoting himself full-time to farming. Wava taught for over twenty-five years in the Edson and Goodland schools.
Ralph and Wava celebrated 67+ years of joyful marriage, each year falling further in love together. To their joy were born three children, Tom Duell (Mary), Tim Ault-Duell (Pat), and Kristi Duell (Dan Howard). Their lives were further blessed with grandchildren, Charlie Ault-Duell, Margi Ault-Duell (Hugo Perez Trejo), Laura Hushion (Quinn), and Travis Duell. Great-grandchildren, Solomon, Rosalee, Anouk, Sadie, and Sadie’s sister arriving in April! Ralph was preceded in death: by Wava; his parents; his brothers; and his sister.
Under his brother Lowell Duell’s teaching, Ralph learned to love playing the harmonica. Especially in his later years, he shared this talent with others. He brought many smiles to friends in church, family and caregivers. Even in his final week, he lifted the spirits of others with some gentle melodies to soothe their souls. Ralph loved education for children and youth, and always had an eye for what was best for the next generation.
To send flowers to Ralph's family, please visit our floral section.
Goodland United Methodist Church
and may be left at the services or mailed to Bateman Funeral Home, 211 East 11th Street, Goodland KS 67735
Ralph Duell Education Fund