January 13, 1938 - May 13, 0017
Service Date: June 3, 2017
A Memorial Service will be held at Olathe Middle/High School on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. A reception will be held afterward where the many tall tales of Ralph Read will be shared.
Fred Ralph Read
January 13, 1938 ~ May 13, 2017
The sad news: With his loving wife, Linda, at his bedside and in his house where he lived in for over forty years, Ralph Read passed away in the early morning hours of May 13, 2017. His long fought battle with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is now over, and all his friends and family are comforted knowing he is now in a better place.
A little history: Ralph, the youngest of four children – Nate Read, Paul Read, and Joyce (Read) Schmittel – was born at home on a ranch basically in the middle of nowhere near Walsenburg, Colorado on January 13, 1938 to Fred and Alice (Patterson) Read. Next, his family eventually moved to Saguache, Colorado, where Ralph grew up and attended school. In high school, he received All-American honors in football and then attended Western State Collage. In collage, he played varsity football and studied to be a teacher. While there, he received one of the last lifetime teaching certificates awarded by Western and completed both his Bachelors and Masters degrees. In Gunnison, he joined the BPOE Elks Club and became a lifetime member. His first job in education was at Moffat School in Moffat, CO. He was the Superintendent, a teacher, the janitor, the bus driver, the counselor, a coach, and because he was often the last one out of the building, he also turned out the lights. After deciding to move to the city, he landed in Leadville, CO, taught Junior High School science and was both an assistant high school football and wrestling coach. While living in Leadville, he met and married Linda Coffman. After 10 years and two kids, Jimmy and Kristal, the Reads left Leadville in a snowstorm and moved to Olathe, CO – Linda’s hometown. Ralph continued to teach for 20 more years in Olathe at both the Junior and Senior High Schools until he retired in 1995. After retiring, he sat on the boards of the Olathe State Bank and the Montrose County Schools Credit Union for several years. Additionally, he attended the Olathe United Methodist Church in Olathe, CO and sometimes even sang in the choir.
Some fun facts: His favorite hobbies were officiating football, officiating basketball, telling funny stories, hunting, fishing, looking for arrowheads, spending good times with family, and enjoying a couple of cold beers with good friends. And while we cannot be completely certain if the officiating was just a veiled excuse to get to the story telling and the cold beers, he always enjoyed the time he spent with his referee buddies. In the summers, Ralph also worked with his dad and brothers in a custom hay contracting business that they owned. Those days when he worked with many nieces, nephews, cousins, sons, daughters, and a cast of vagabonds to put up hay in the San Luis Valley, were some of his fondest memories.
The truth: It will be remembered that Ralph Read was a friend to all, a special teacher to many, a great dad for his two kids, and a good husband to his one (and only) wife, Linda.
The Details: Ralph is survived by his wife Linda; his children, Jimmy and Susana Read of Denver and Kristal and Ray Benson of Olathe; his grandchildren, Nico, Juliana, Camila, and Joaquin Read and Drayna Benson. We all wish him well in the next life.
His ashes will be spread in his family’s cemetery just east of the Spanish Peaks outside of Walsenburg, CO. A Memorial Service will be held at Olathe Middle/High School on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. A reception will be held afterward where the many tall tales of Ralph Read will be shared. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to two groups that helped Linda through these last three years at HopeWest Hospice at 725 South 4th Street, Montrose, CO 81401, or The Olathe United Methodist Church at P.O. Box 148, Olathe, CO 81425, on behalf of Ralph Read. Crippin Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements.