December 17, 1920 ~ April 13, 2005
Ralph was born to Zada and James Shuck on December 17, 1920 in Leland, Illinois. He was the third child of eight. His brothers Robert and Raymond precede him in death. Helen, Gertrude, Paul, Fred and Joanne survive him. In May of last year, Dad and I took a trip to Illinois to the Shuck Family Reunion, held every year in May. Dad was able to see all of his living brothers and sisters as 84 family members attended the reunion.
The Shuck's were cattle farmers in Somonak, Illinois where Ralph worked the farm and went to school through graduating high school. At the age of 22 he joined the army and began training as an aircraft pilot. His training was cut short by Rheumatic Fever, which required hospitalization for several months in those days. After recovery, he no longer qualified to be a pilot, so he chose to become an aircraft mechanic. He was stationed at Minor Field in Bakersfield, Ca during World War II. While roller-skating he met his wife of 58 years, Lucille. After five years of marriage their first daughter Kristine was born in Bakersfield. However they soon moved to Los Angeles, where he continued mechanic school and worked as an auto mechanic. After finishing school, he was hired on at Western Airlines (the only way to fly) in Los Angeles where he worked over the next 31 years. A month before he started at Western in 1952 his daughter Robin was born, three years later Rebecca and then four years after that Ralph Edward (Eddie). In 1952, they also purchased their first home in Hawthorne, where they lived for 44 years.
The family was very involved at Del Aire Baptist church in Hawthorne and Ralph lived a devout Christian life, always making church a part of his life and being involved with church activities and responsibilities. You could ask Ralph to do anything and he would find a way to fix it, build it, design it, cook it, or help with it. He spent many hours taking care of the facilities at Del Aire. As a family man he also fulfilled his responsibilities. My mother and he were involved in square dancing, bowling clubs, they loved to play cards and other games. Jigsaw puzzles were almost always in some stage of completion. He also was an honorary Girl Scout, having three girls who all went through it and being an active participant in all of their activities, and a Boy Scout leader with Ed. We camped with Western Airlines Camping club which usually had some form of fishing involved and traveled extensively as a family. Ralph's grandchildren were a tremendous joy to him. Lisa, Robert, Ryan, Matthew, Daniel, Jenna and his Great-Grandson Gabriel were always in his thoughts. They all have cherished memories of time spent with their grand-father.
After retirement at age 62, Ralph continued to help out at the church handling many of the maintenance challenges of an old church building, but he also found a new hobby, wood working. He began making children's toys and hand made crafts that he sold at craft sales. He received a lot of joy from this and loved sharing his creations with anyone.
Seven years ago, He and Lucille moved to Leisure World. Sold their home in Hawthorne and took up residence in Seal Beach. Leisure World was a perfect fit for them. The first thing they did was find a new church home in Leisure World Baptist church. They both became very active members. Dad also became very active at the wood shop, he was shop manager on Wednesday's. He became acquainted with a small group of men who made toys for handicapped children at a school in Long Beach and began building toys for them every year. Last Christmas they delivered over 100 toys for the children, all hand made by these men. He received great joy in doing this.
In May of 2003, he lost Lucille to cancer, but his positive attitude, which he had always carried, had kept him building toys and managing his life. He loved where he lived, he had such great neighbors, in Hawthorne and in Seal Beach. He kept up things we always thought Mom did - like send birthday and anniversary greetings. Family was always important, and Rebecca and Robin were fortunate to have shared so much time with him in these last few years. As life dealt him small setbacks, he always found ways to work through them.
This last battle though, must have called him in a different direction. Because it was as though he decided, If I can't walk and do for myself, it was time to reach out to his Lord. And his calls were heard, too quickly for us though. We were able to instruct him to give our Mom big hugs and kisses for us and we all were given the chance to share our good-byes. He will most definitely be missed by many, because he was loved by all that met him.
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