Ralph Hafen

June 20, 1925 – May 6, 2018

Ralph Hafen passed away on May 6, 2018, at his home in Santa Clara, the same room in which he was born on June 20, 1925, to Charles and Ada Blake Hafen. He was the eighth of nine children. When he was 3 years old, his mother passed away. His dad never remarried and raised the children alone.

Ralph was drafted into the Army in 1943 during World War II. On April 13, 1945, while he was on guard duty, he was shot by a German patrol, the bullet went through a muscle in his back, barely missing his backbone and kidneys. He walked 2 miles back to the company headquarters and was eventually sent to the general hospital in France. He was released from the hospital on his birthday.

Ralph got leave in September and was able to come home. While he was on leave, he married Pearl Rose Nelson on Oct. 17, 1945, in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were later sealed in the St. George temple. He was honorably discharged from the Army and was awarded the Purple Heart. He returned home and went back to farming with his Dad.

When Ralph was in the hospital in France, he noticed how the people there had staked their tomatoes in a garden by the hospital. When he came home, he started staking his tomatoes the way they had done. Soon everyone in Santa Clara started staked tomatoes like he did. Prior to that, each vine was staked to a single pole they had made out of a cedar branch. He raised a lot of tomatoes every year. He was continually trying new methods to see if he could get ripe tomatoes earlier each year. Some of the other main crops were cabbage sets, cabbage, onions, melons and peaches. He had the fruit stand that Pearl ran, plus she spent many hours on the road selling the produce he grew. The family all worked together in order to provide a living.

About 1960, Ralph began driving truck for O. M. Porter Distributing Company. He had a route that took him to Tuba City and back. He drove for them for several years during which time he made many friends and had many memorable experiences.

Ralph managed the LDS Stake Farm on Fort Pearce Wash for several years. He was Santa Clara Town Clerk for many years. He served as Elders Quorum President and in various other callings in the LDS Church. In 1991-1992, Ralph and Pearl served a mission in the Bishop’s Storehouse. Together, they put flags and crosses on the graves of veterans in the Santa Clara Cemetery for many years. In 2006, they received Volunteer of the Year recognition for their service.

In 1998, Ralph sold most of his farm, bought some rental homes, bought property near Enterprise and founded Country Kids Children’s Center.

Ralph loved playing Rook, Parcheesi and other games. He loved being outdoors, whether working in his garden, hunting, fishing, picnicking or whatever else might take him outside. He loved any activity that brought the family together. Ralph taught his children to be hard workers, to be honest in all their dealings, not to waste anything, to be responsible, to be dependable, do the job right the first time, go to church, stay out of debt and many other things. His life was a good example of the things he believed. He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Pearl; children: LaVeryl Porter, Gary Ralph (Marie) Hafen, Joyce (L.D.) Winder, Steven (Beverly) Hafen, Doris (Maurice) Winder, Carolyn (Edward) Musselman, Peggy (Wendell) Gubler, Nadine (Russell) Jones, Marlene Hafen and McKay (Julie) Hafen; sister Thora Johnson; 50 grandchildren, 147 great-grandchildren and 25 great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings: Lois Christian, Weston, Leonard, Wayne, Dean, Mildred Calapp, and Leslie; grandsons: Kyle Hafen, Randy Hafen and Jeremy Hafen; and great-great-grandson Grayson Pliler.

Funeral services

  • Funeral services will be Saturday, May 12, 11 a.m., in the Santa Clara 1st Ward Chapel, 3040 W. Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara, Utah.
  • Viewings will be held Friday, May 11, from 6-8:00 p.m. in the Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, and on Saturday in the Santa Clara Chapel from 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Interment will be in the Santa Clara City Cemetery, Santa Clara, Utah.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454.

For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Spilsbury Mortuary online.

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