PEORIA—Ralph J. Converse, 71, of Peoria, passed away at 3:25 a.m., Sunday, June 9, 2013 at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home.
Ralph was born June 29, 1941, in Akron, OH, to Irving “Cotty” and Ethelyn “Jackie” (Smith) Converse. He married Jane Griffin Bodman on October 17, 1964, in Winnetka, IL. She survives.
He is also survived by his two children, Amy (Andy) Schlicksup and Ted (Kara) Converse, both of Peoria; four grandchildren, Georgia West, Janey Schlicksup, and Sophia and Kate Converse; two step-grandchildren, Jack and Jake Rieger; three brothers, Daniel of Costa Mesa, Calif., Dennis of Aurora, IL, and Roger of Hinkley, IL; his 97-year-old father, Cotty Converse of Ft. Myers, FL; and many loving sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his mother.
Ralph attended the University of Illinois, where he played centerfield for the Illini. Upon graduating with an engineering degree in 1963, he played semi-pro baseball for several years in Kane County and Evanston, IL. He remained a baseball fan and loyal Illini for over 50 years.
He had a distinguished career with IBM, where he worked for over 32 years before retiring as the Peoria Branch Manager. He also worked as President of Cullinan Properties, followed by nine years as Vice President and General Manager of the Peoria Chiefs.
Throughout his career, he traveled and lived in many places but chose to make Peoria his home. He loved this community and volunteered his time to serve on boards and chair fundraising campaigns for organizations such as the Peoria Zoological Society, United Way (founding member of the Pillars Society), The Salvation Army, Easter Seals, Boy Scouts, and the Economic Development Council.
Ralph was a member of First Federated Church, Country Club of Peoria, and Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club. He was passionate about golf, tennis, baseball, skiing, traveling, enjoying friends and family, and spending time in Tucson, Arizona.
Ralph’s family would like to thank the caregivers at both UnityPoint Health-Methodist and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the special team lead by Dr. Olsson at OSF Hospice Home who helped us through the final days of his journey. Words cannot express our gratitude. Ralph’s warmth, wisdom and passion for life will be missed.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., on Thursday, June 13, 2013, at First Federated Church. Dr. Forrest Krummel will officiate. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the church. An additional visitation will be from 10 – 10:50 a.m. prior to the service at the church. Wright & Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to United Way of Central Illinois, 509 W. High Street, Peoria, IL 61606 or OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, 8630 N. Illinois, Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615.
Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com.