Ralph John Ireland, 92, of Mankato, died March 9, 2013 at Pathstone Living Center in Mankato, surrounded by his family.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. Clair, with Fr. Robert Schneider, Celebrant. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 4 to 8 P.M. at Immaculate Conception Church in St. Clair. and will continue on Wednesday morning for one hour prior to services. Arnoldt-McRraith Funeral Home of Janesville is handling arrangements. Memorials in Ralph's memory are preferred to Mayo Hospice.
Ralph was born on February 20, 1921 at a farm on Rice Lake, near St.Clair, MN to Frank and Sara (Smith) Ireland. He graduated from St.Clair High School in 1939 and earned his private pilot's license in 1944.
He married Mary Louise Hunziker September 8, 1951 at Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato, MN. The couple lived on the farm south of Mankato where they raised their five children. He farmed until 1965, then worked at St. Clair State Bank, the Duke Durfee Company, and later managed Mankato Concrete Block Company until it was sold in 1969. He acquired his real estate license, did appraisal work, and developed several subdivisions. In 1978 Ralph and his son Frank started Farm and City Construction. He was a faithful member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. Clair, and former member of the St. Clair School Board.
Ralph was an inventor and entrepreneur; he patented several products of his own design and received numerous awards for them at the Inventor's Congress. He owned several airplanes, flying often to Canada and to the Arctic Circle.
Ralph was a dedicated servant of the Lord, volunteering in the church, ministering in the Stillwater and Waseca Prison System, and also as a chaplain at ISJ Mayo Hospital for many years. He was also one of the leaders of the local ecumenical prayer community, River of Life.
He is survived by his children, Dan (Marie) Ireland of Mankato, Tim (Connie) Ireland of Mankato, Frank (Abby Butzer) Ireland of Janesville, and Sarah (Jim) Boxrud of Mankato; son-in-law, Loren Wiebold; 19 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Mary; daughter, Mary Margaret Wiebold; brother, Lawrence; brother-in-laws, William, Eugene, James, and Jack Hunziker.
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