Ralph S. Jesse

LODI- Ralph S. Jesse, age 75, was called home with his Lord on Saturday, November 26, 2016.

He was born on July 1, 1941 in Baraboo, the second son of Alvin and Elsie (Neuman) Jesse. In January, 1942, Alvin and Elsie moved their young family to a farm in the Lodi area when the construction of Badger Army Ordnance began.Ralph spent many carefree hours playing at his grandparent's farm in the Baraboo Bluffs, making happy memories he loved to share with his children. A natural born farmer, he grew up milking cows, bailing hay, and working the land. He graduated from Lodi High School in 1959, and after a summer working at the Arlington Canning Company he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Ralph married Thea Leckwee on January 5, 1963 at Lakeview Lutheran Church in Madison. The young couple settled on their dairy farm on Morning Glory Mountain in Lodi where they raised their six children. For 25 years Ralph also drove semi, logging over one million accident-free miles. Ralph enjoyed the simple things in life: Sunday drives with his family, bluegrass music, hymn sings, working in his garden, a good game of euchre, Barney Fyfe, and PBR. He loved being a husband, father, and grandpa, and was so very proud of each of his grandchildren.

Ralph was funny, smart, patriotic, hardworking, and kind and his family adored him. Ralph was a good man. Ralph had a strong faith in the power of God's love and the beauty and peace that awaited him, a fact that brings comfort to his family at this sad, sad time.

Ralph is survived by his devoted wife of nearly 54 years, Thea; his children, Rebecca (Mike) Benish, Rachel (Gary) Stieve, Ruth (Willy Wilkers) Jesse, Matthew (Tracy) Jesse, Mark (Stacy) Jesse, and Luke (Sara) Jesse; his grandchildren, Katie, Tom, Joe, David, Adam, Malarie (Eric), Lucas, Greg, Josee (Colton), McKenzy, Hannah (Dusty), Leah, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Sam (Briana), Henry, Audrey, Hailey (Logan), Evan, Avery, Grace, Oliver, and Lucia; his great-grandchildren, Nathaniel, Eli, Nora, and Aubrey; one brother, Norman (Anne); two sisters, Carol Wilke and Linda (James) Dohm and by many other relatives and friends. He was welcomed to heaven by his two precious grandchildren, Emma and Andrew; his parents; mother and father-in-law; one brother, Dean and a niece, Jenny.

Funeral Services will be held at DEKORRA LUTHERAN CHURCH, N3099 Smith Road, Poynette, at 11 a.m., on Friday, December 2, 2016 with Reverend Ryan Rouse presiding. Burial will be in County Line Cemetery. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON LODI FUNERAL HOME, 157 S. Main St., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2016 and again on Friday, from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Prevent Suicide Columbia County, ? CWCAC, Sara Jesse, P. O. Box 430 Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965 or Wisconsin River Rescue, c/o Brianna or Tina Johnson N4307 County Road V, Poynette, WI 53955.

"It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and rake and disc and plow and plant.... so God made a farmer."

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson Lodi
Funeral & Cremation Care
157 S. Main Street

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