Ralph Clinton Wade, 83, died December 2nd, 2018 in his sleep. A memorial service will be held at 10 am on Friday, December 7th, 2018 at the Iowa City Rehab and Nursing Home, where Ralph and his surviving spouse, Claudia, reside.
Ralph was born March 14th, 1935 in Vancouver, Washington. He was developmentally delayed and attended public school until 4th grade, when the school said they could no longer educate him. Ralph met the love of his life, Claudia, while they both worked at the local Goodwill store.
They married July 25, 1964, and they remained happily united until his passing. They were married 54 years, 4 months and 8 days.
Ralph and Claudia Wade had a son and a daughter. Their son, Rex (Ezra) passed away in 1999. Their daughter, Heather (Hadassah) and her husband, Rob Young, have 3 children, Jennifer, Elise (married to Pat Barlow with grandchild, Eleanor) and Ty Young.
Although Ralph was functionally illiterate, he was employed for 22 years as a full-time dishwasher for a restaurant in the Lloyd Center in Portland, Oregon. After the restaurant closed in 1988, Ralph delivered newspapers full-time until he was permanently disabled by a reckless car. From then on, Ralph gathered soda cans for deposit refunds until his passing. Hard work was his balm in a world he could not conquer.
With Claudia’s help reading the questions, Ralph obtained his driver’s license and never had a traffic ticket or caused an accident in the many years he drove. When age prevented him from driving anymore, he mourned the loss of his traveling freedom. Ralph’s dream was to own an RV and to travel the country, free from the hassles of ordinary bureaucratic life. We are sad he did not have that opportunity; he would have done it brilliantly.
Ralph loved children and he preferred their company over adults any day. Nothing gave him more joy than to make a child laugh and smile. His claims to entertainment fame include being able to rise from sitting cross-legged to standing without using his hands, speaking without moving his lips, and easily doing the 5th position in ballet with his feet and holding it indefinitely. Laughter was truly his joy, and he will be deeply missed by his family because of it.
Ralph did not have the advantage of federal protections and educational supports as a child and because of his lack, he was acutely aware of children in need. If you are moved to honor Ralph’s extraordinary life, his surviving wife and family members encourage you to find an organization that supports children and to offer your time, resources or your friendly smile to them. His greatest wish was that all children be happy.