Ralph Childs Brownlee died at his home in New Iberia, La., on Jan. 24, 2006. He was 93.
He is survived by eight children: Richard Brownlee of Toledo, Ohio; Tom Brownlee of Nunica, Mich; Dale Brownlee of Katy, Texas; Judy B. Webb and Patricia B. Bushnell, both of New Iberia, La.; Bill Brownlee of Opelousas, La.; Anne B. Blanchet of Meaux, La.; and Steve Brownlee of Mandeville, La.;
23 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are two brothers and two sisters: James Brownlee of New Iberia, La.; Marjorie B. Martin of Pretty Prairie, Kan.; May B. Shaw of Ridgecrest, Calif.; and Lynn Brownlee of The Villages, Fla.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Beulah Dawson Brownlee; his parents, William Ray and Goldie May Brownlee; a sister, Mary Youle; and a daughter, Marilyn B. Waltrip.
A native of Pretty Prairie, Kan., Brownlee graduated from Fort Hays Teachers College in Kansas with a major in chemistry. Before taking a job with United Carbon in Ryus, Kan., at the beginning of World War II, he taught school in a one-room school house and farmed wheat. Drafted for the war at least three times, he was ultimately excused from service because he worked in a vital industry. In 1952, he was transferred to work at United Carbon/Ashland Chemical at Weeks Island, La., and moved to New Iberia with his family.
While with the company, he previously worked as part of a special team in Venezuela, Israel, India, Germany and France. He retired at 65, but was called out of retirement by the company to open a plant in Wales.
During his second retirement, Brownlee became a ham radio operator, advancing to extra class. He enjoyed traveling and was often out-of-state, with his family when the children were young and with his wife in later years, visiting family all over the country, and attending Hamfests in several states.
Primarily a family man, Brownlee spent most of his free time visiting with, working with and helping his relatives. He built wooden toys and furniture for his children and grandchildren, and traveled to their homes and helped them with remodeling houses and fixing cars, tractors, washing machines and other machinery. At 72, he helped his daughter Anne train two geldings to pleasure riding, riding on a World War I military saddle he bought from a Sears catalog for $1.50, and when he stopped riding in his 80s, helped on her farm by running the tractor for plowing, planting, and mowing. At 83, he helped his son Tom set the foundation for a large garage.
He was a deacon and then an elder at First Presbyterian Church (now Iberia Parish Presbyterian Church) in New Iberia.
Local services will be held at Iberia Parish Presbyterian Church in New Iberia on Jan. 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Visitation will be at Evangeline Funeral Home in New Iberia on Jan. 26, 5-9 p.m., and on Jan. 27, 1-3 p.m.
Kansas services will be held at First Methodist Church in Pretty Prairie on Jan. 30 at 2:00. Visitation will be at Livingston Funeral Home in Kingman, KS on Jan 29, 12-8 p.m., with family attending from 5-7 p.m., and on Jan 30, 9-11 a.m.. Burial will be in Pretty Prairie following the funeral service there.