Ralph Arthur Lampe, one of three children of Arthur and Leona (Ashcraft) Lampe, was born November 27, 1940, in Auburn, Nebraska. Ralph attended rural school through the 8th grade, and graduated from Auburn High School in 1958. After graduation, Ralph enlisted in the United States Army, where he spent a majority of his service in Germany.
On June 11, 1965, Ralph was united in marriage to Patricia Wilhelm at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn. The couple would be blessed with two daughters: Paula and Marcy. They spent most of their marriage in the home Ralph built on the family farm.
After his Honorable Discharge from the Army in 1962, Ralph returned home to Auburn and worked a short time at the Conoco Station. He then worked 30 years as a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 1992. Being the working man he was, Ralph’s retirement was short-lived, and he went to work at Cooper Nuclear Station for 13 years, followed by another 5 years at Sun Mart. Ralph also owned and operated a custom hay business and cattle operation with his dad and Gene Ely.
Ralph belonged to the American Legion Post #23 in Auburn. He was a member of the Auburn Volunteer Fire Department for many years, and was a key contributor to the building of the current fire hall. Ralph was an avid hunter and fisherman.
Ralph enjoyed woodworking and was a master craftsman. He turned beautiful things on his lathe and turned seeds into many bountiful gardens.
He had many interests, including photography, movies, restoring windmills, frying up interesting meats in his shop, and drinking an occasional brewsky. He was a deep thinker, though not a big talker, and was always researching a new hobby or project.
Ralph loved his grandchildren and would plan fun things for their visits: rockets or potato-launching, making homemade ice cream, rides on the 4-wheeler, or pulling them behind it on the sled.
More than half his life was spent on Lampe Hill, and a day not spent in the shop was not complete. As his wife of 49 years says, “He was never bored a day in his life”.
After a battle with cancer, Ralph passed away at the home he built on Sunday, August 24, 2014, having reached the age of 73 years, 8 months, and 28 days. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Ralph is survived by his wife Pat of Auburn; daughters and sons-in-law Paula and Gary Tobin of Lee’s Summit, MO; Marcy Strothkamp of Lincoln; Dan Strothkamp of Geneva; grandchildren Tyler Tobin, Maddison Berciunas, Jessica Squires, Maggie Tobin, Gary Joe Tobin, Brandon Strothkamp, Bradley Strothkamp, Annie Strothkamp; great-grandchild Kaleb Strothkamp; sisters and brothers-in-law Edith Ann and Wes Medlin of Woodland, CA; Rita and Ron Edwards of Bolivar, MO; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
A memorial service was Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at Hemmingsen Funeral Home in Auburn, officiated by Rev. Ken Miller. Urnbearers were Brad Strothkamp and Gary Joe Tobin. Honorary bearers were Floyd Reeves, Joe Ingersoll, Jim Winkelman, Steve Knapp, Luke Winkelman, Gary Peters, and Cal West. Burial of ashes was in the Johnson Cemetery, with graveside military honors by American Legion Post #23 of Auburn and the Nebraska National Guard Honor Guard.