Ralph Thrane December 15, 1932 - April 10, 2019

Age 86, of St. Paul, Minnesota, passed away on the morning of Wednesday, April 10.

Ralph was the sixth of seven boys born to Palmer and Gunda Thrane on the family farm homesteaded by his grandfather in Kindred, North Dakota. All of the Thrane brothers served in the U.S. Military, with Ralph serving as a member of the Army Band of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.  After graduating from Concordia, Moorhead and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he traveled internationally handling mergers and acquisitions for the Green Giant Company and then Pillsbury.  Following his retirement from Pillsbury, Ralph operated an apple orchard, an asparagus farm and a jam and jelly business.

He was an active member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church and served the congregation in several roles, taking special pride in marketing its annual lutefisk dinner.  He also served on several non-profit boards, including the Minnesota Horticultural Society, the Ramsey County Historical Society and Compatible Technology, Inc. The Historical Society’s American Heritage Apple Orchard at the Gibbs Farm was planted and maintained by Ralph, who was a Master Gardner specializing in fruit trees.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Loanne, his son Peter, Peter’s wife Mary Jo and his granddaughter Kate.  The family wants to thank all of the people who have been so kind to Ralph through his illness, especially the medical staff at the United Hospitals, Carol Venneman and Mary Jane Edlefsen.

Ralph will be buried in the family’s burial plot in the cemetery of the Norman Lutheran Church within walking distance of the farm where he was born, the church where he was baptized and the one-room school he attended through eighth grade.

A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 104 Snelling Avenue S. in St. Paul at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, April 16. Visitation at church 1 hour prior to service.

A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 104 Snelling Avenue S. in St. Paul at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, April 16. Visitation at church 1 hour prior to service.


  1. REPLY
    Ray Peterson says

    Please accept my deepest condolences to Ralph’s family. He was a pillar in so many communities, and always had my greatest respect. I always enjoyed our conversations about our shared North Dakota roots, and will miss his wit and deep sense of the importance of history.

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    Diana, Laura, Marta Scheff says

    So sorry for the loss of your dad. Praying for the peace that passes understanding to Loann and Peter and his family.

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    Susan Oven says

    In his understated way, Ralph was an inspiration to us in the Ramsey County Master Gardener program. He will be missed, but more importantly, he will be remembered as the fine man he was.

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    David A. and Carmenza Preus says

    Our family’s condolences to Ralph’s family. Ralph leaves the legacy of an exemplary life and memories of a great neighbor and friend to all. Conversation with Ralph brightened every day. We will miss him.

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    Leah Rogne says

    Our condolences to Loann and the rest of the family from Cousin Leah Rogne and family. Ralph was such a good friend and cousin of my father. Ralph always kept in touch, and his work helped carry the family history to the next generations. We always enjoyed his visits.

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    Melodee Carlson Chang says

    Pete, my condolences to you, your mother, and Mary Jo and Kate. I met your dad on several occasions during the course of working for you and I thought he was a kind and charming gentleman. He certainly did a wonderful job raising you and that will be one of his many legacies of a life well lived.

  7. REPLY
    Linda Otterson says

    Condolences to the family. Ralph’s works and writings on the Kindred area has been important to the community. The Kindred Public Library appreciates all that Ralph and Loanne has done for the library – his author presentations, book donations, and support. We so enjoyed the visits to the Kindred Days celebrations and the library.

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