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Ralph E Wilcox


Ralph E Wilcox went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 26, 2020 at The Legacy Assisted Living in Helena, where he resided since November 2018. Ralph was born in Three Forks at his grandparents home to Ralph M and Vera Wilcox. Ralph graduated from Three Forks in 1942. Ralph enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1943, graduated from flight training in 1944, and served as a pilot in the 12th Air Force in Italy during WWII. While home on leave from the AF, he married the girl next door, Katie Carlson on June 2, 1944. When his leave ended Ralph took Katie back to his base in LaJunta, CO, and in August they moved to Columbia, SC. They were blessed with 6 months together before Ralph was sent overseas, at which time Katie returned to Montana. At the age of 20, Ralph (the pilot) and his crew flew their B25 bomber on a 10 day trip to Corsica Italy, where they flew 40 missions. Ralph returned to the US in August 1945 and he kissed the ground when his plane landed on US soil. Their first child, Judy Kay was born in March 1945 while Ralph was overseas. Ralph was notified of her birth on April Fool's Day 1945. Later, daughter Susan Marie was born in September 1946. After leaving the service, Ralph worked for the Milwaukee Railroad for a few years. Ralph always loved the country and spent much of his time at his grandparents house on the Madison. Continuing with his love for the country, in 1948 Ralph and Katie bought a small ranch on the Madison. He and his family were now farmers so he no longer worked for the RR. In the middle of a terrible winter in January 1949, his son Ralph E (Ed) was born in Townsend. A few years later, son James (Jim) was born June 1953. After a few years, Ralph went to work at the lumber yard in Three Forks and later went carpentering on his own. Ralph and Katie had 64 years of good memories living on the Madison, like the old school house up the road where they had many dinners, dances, holiday parties, and of course Christmas with Santa. The valley friends became one big family. When he retired he volunteered his labor to many. Ralph and Katie were instrumental in starting the golf course, the ambulance, rural fire department, health clinic and the museum. He also remodeled the Methodist Church after retirement. He never found it hard to get a volunteer job. On March 24th 2012 at the age of 88, their family moved Ralph and Katie to Helena to be closer to the kids. They had the best of both lives, raising their children in the country and now living in the city. Katie loved living in the city but they always missed the good friends in Three Forks. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 73 years, Katie (2017), daughter Judy Brandt (2019), grandson-son-in-law Tim Kennedy (2020), brother-in-law Paul Jacobsen, nephew Tom Jacobsen, great-granddaughter Jasmine Eklund. Ralph is survived by his sister Mary Lou Jacobsen of Billings, daughter Susan (Allen) Watson, son Ed (Cheryl) , son Jim (Joyce) and son-in-law Barney Brandt, all from Helena, 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandchildren, several cousins, nieces and nephews. Our family would like to thank Legacy Assisted Living for the loving care dad received. Funeral services will be held at the Three Forks Methodist Church later this summer.


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