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.