Longtime Camp Courageous Board Member and Honorary Board Member, Ralph Palmer, has passed at the age of 79. Ralph joined the Camp Courageous Family in the early 1980s and remained active with Camp until the end of his life…meeting days before his passing regarding projects he was actively involved in.
Ralph was active in countless organizations, trade groups, and charities, but those closest to his heart were Camp Courageous and the Shrine. While blessed to have healthy children and grandchildren, he knew there were many children who had challenges and wanted to help these children. Ralph may have never known their names, looked them in the eyes, or saw their smiles, but he knew he was helping the children and their families live a more fulfilling life.
Early in his involvement with Camp Courageous, Ralph gave motivational speeches and donated the proceeds to Camp. He also participated in a 24-hour marathon horseshoe pitching event to raise money for Camp. Ralph was involved with Pineapple Sales and the Pineapple Gala for decades. He was a longtime emcee for the Pineapple Gala. Recently, Ralph was moved by a presentation about Camp’s travel program and chose to sponsor t-shirts for the travelers.
As a board member, Ralph was always thinking of ways to improve Camp Courageous. He proposed an idea to give every camper a framed picture of themselves at Camp so they could fondly remember their experience and share their memories with family and friends until they returned. This idea became a reality. Ralph was a true visionary for Camp Courageous and facilitated meetings focused on the organization’s future path… a contribution that will impact Camp for years to come.
Ralph had a close relationship with Honorary Board Members Leo Greco and Jim Theisen. He worked for Jim Theisen as a Store Manager at Theisens in Anamosa, in addition to a number of other jobs throughout his life. In 1968, he began a long career with Ar-Jay Building Products, now known as The Ar-Jay Center, and retired in 2015. Many events benefitting Camp Courageous were held at The Ar-Jay Center, including seminars, cupcake baking competitions, and style shows.
Ralph’s legacy lives on in his family members, who are all involved with Camp. Camp Courageous’ sympathy goes out to Ralph’s wonderful wife, Linda, and children, Cindy (Taylor), Rebecca (Keenan), and Jeff.
Ralph’s favorite saying was, “You keep your enthusiasm by giving it away!” This was the credo by which Ralph lived his life.
The family will be having a private graveside service, but all are welcome to attend a Celebration of Life event at the El Kahir Shrine on Saturday, December 22nd, at 3:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, Ralph would be honored if memorial contributions were made to either Camp Courageous or the El Kahir Shrine Endowment fund.