He attended South High and briefly attended the University of Utah before being drafted by Red Socks organization to play baseball, however that too was cut short when he accepted a call to serve as a missionary for the LDS Church.
Ralph loved the gospel of Jesus Christ and was an active member of the LDS Church having held many callings. He especially enjoyed serving with his wife Eileen on an international mission to India between 2002 and 2004 and eventually served in the St. George Temple in ecclesiastical capacities. Ralph’s later life was filled with moments of service as he reached out to neighbors in need. He also served as Coordinator for the Sunday Sacrament Meetings at Ridgeview Gardens.
Ralph enjoyed traveling overseas in his early life. A notable were trips to the UK, France & Germany of which he often fondly reminisced and had hopes of someday re-visiting with his beautiful Eileen. A dream unfortunately that did not materialize. A more recent international visit was to India to which he and Eileen were called to serve as full time missionaries for 2 years in service for the LDS Church. In regards to the unfamiliar culture, Ralph reflected on how much he had come to embrace the people of a culture so far removed from that of West, and yet in a very humbling way, so close. He truly loved the Indian people and spoke many times of his desire to return there someday.
Ralphs’ devotion to improving our quality of life in the State of Utah was evident in his political engagements and appointments to which there were numerous. He was involved with various Salt Lake City/County and Washington City government positions from 1952, until his passing. A few of the notable hats he wore included: working as City planner & deputy for the Salt Lake County Sheriff Department. Eventually he served as the County Commissioner and Chairman of the Salt Lake County commissioners’ office in the 70’s.
He also enjoyed city planning and eventually moved to Southern Utah where he served as City Manager for City of Moab and more recently as City Manager of Washington City from 1985-2001. In fact as the City Manager, he envisioned the growth of “todays” Washington City long before our day and was instrumental in overcoming numerous political hurdles to his vision of bringing municipal power and a world class 18 hole golf course, at par with the finest in the world, to the Washington County, he succeeded and the Green Springs Golf course continues to attract visitors from around the globe! These commendable additions to the county also enriched the value of the nearby real estate in the Washington City area and eventually converted this sleepy rural town into a vibrant economically powerful city. It is also notable to mention that he also attempted a run for congress as well in 1974, and although not successful, Ralph succeeded at many political accomplishments on both municipal and state levels and was held in high regard.
Ralph was always determined to do the right thing and made decisions that benefited his jurisdictions. He worked hard excelling in a variety of areas and received many distinctions and governmental awards in his career, but the most dear to him were those recognitions extended by his peers and co-workers.
Awards include: Washington City Award for bringing Municipal Power to the city
Utah APA – American Planning Association: Meritorious Planner Award 1989
Washington City – Outstanding Male Citizen Award 1990-91
Utah Local Government Trust – Excellence In Risk Management
National Golf Foundation – Golf Management Honors 1991
Washington City – Award in appreciation of 17 years of service 1985-2001
All who got to know him loved him, but of course and as is the nature in politics, he did have his critics as evident in this Desert News clip of a quote he had made during a reunion of Salt Lake County Commissioners in 1989:
Ralph Y. McClure, Democratic commissioner from 1971 to 1976: "It was indeed a period of time I will never forget." He apologized for not wearing the bright yellow suit that once prompted a reporter to ask "Where does a 200-pound canary sit?" to which he quipped, "Anywhere he wants."
Following his retirement, Ralph discovered that staying at home and not working was not for him, so he volunteered in the area and also accepted miscellaneous jobs around the county including driving a local school bus. Ralph was a family man and although he regrets that his early life was consumed with work related activities, he later made quality time for his children and grandchildren. In fact, he thrived on hugs and kisses and spent numerous years being “Papa” to his grandkids. He attended family events and all local sporting events he possibly could at which his children and grandchildren were participants. In fact he coached little league, probably tossing the ball many thousands of times, and was always present when needed.
Perhaps more importantly to him than anything else was his devotion and love to his loving wife Eileen. He made that abundantly clear in his written communiqué and personal expressions of how much she meant to him. Even during his final days when Eileen and family extended an expression of love to him in his weakened state, he would always make an attempt to convey his deep loving emotions. He loved having company and loved for his posterity to keep in touch. In fact, he made sure that all who he loved knew they were loved, and if they had been out of touch for too long, he would politely convey that as well.
Ralph loved to fly! He had a commercial pilots license and took many passengers to various locations earlier in his career. For a while he owned a motorbike and enjoyed riding it. Although his failing health dissuaded him from golfing later in life, Ralph was an avid golfer and enjoyed this activity as a pastime to relax and as a sport. He enjoyed playing the tenor sax, especially in his earlier years, and was an avid tennis player. On a lighter side, it may be surprising to many that he did a bit of modeling very early in life. He was always a kid at heart and loved engaging in fun activities with the kids, playing arcade games, watching movies and sporting events.
Something he had always wanted to do was drive a Formula 1 racing car and on his 75th birthday he was surprised by this gift from his kids. He wasn’t too excited to go until we pulled up to the Andretti Racing School at the Las Vegas Speedway. He recorded in his journal: “This day will be a day I will never forget…what a thrill it was to climb into the racing car and drive at 142 mph…I drove 10 times around the track.” Perhaps the lowest points in Ralph’s life was when he lost his beloved 46-year-old son Garth Young McClure of Salt Lake City in June of 2005 and Barbara Lynn Gaven, Eileen’s daughter in 1994.
Ralph was a dear, humble man whose happiness was simply derived and may best be summarized by his own words: “I love my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and our 2 dogs “Misty” and “Mindee”.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary McClure, son Garth McClure, daughter Barbara (Seth) Gaven, and brother, Paul (Judi) McClure. He is survived by his loving wife, Helen Eileen McClure St. George, UT, his sons Steven (Travis) McClure Sandy, UT, Brad (Tess) McClure SLC, UT, Bassam Faress Visalia, CA, and daughter Lisa (Lynn) Wood Ivins, UT.
14 Grandchildren include: McKenzie McClure SLC, UT, Katie (Jake) Boyack Lousiville, KY, TJ (Alyssa) McClure Sandy, UT, Cassie (Tommy) Nelson So Weber, UT, Skyler (Teilyr) McClure SLC, UT, Robin McClure SLC, UT, Sarah McClure SLC, UT, Stephanie McClure SLC, UT, Jillian McClure SLC, UT, Cody (Felisha) Griffin St. George, UT, Dustin Griffin, Ivins, UT, Joshua Baldwin Ivins, UT, Zeina Faress Provo, UT, Adel Faress Visalia, CA.
5 Great-grandchildren Samara Nelson, Adelaide McClure, Seth McClure, Emmett Boyack, Kaitlyn Nelson, and many, many other beloved relatives and cherished friends who all miss their beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather and loved one. Till we meet again….
Funeral Services will be Friday, August 30, 2013 @ Morningside LDS Stake Center located at: 879 South River Road, St. George, UT. Viewing will commence at 4pm followed by a service at 5pm at the same location.
Interment will take place the following day on Saturday August 31st at 4pm at the Salt Lake City Cemetery located at: 200 N St, Salt Lake City, UT Phone: (801) 596-5020.
* In lieu of flowers contributions may be made at any Zions Bank branch to 'Ralph McClure Donation' to assist with funeral and other related expenses. *
Funeral arrangements are made under the direction of Heideman Hughes Mortuary, St. George UT. (435) 674-5000. Please contact them with any questions.