Ralph Hubbell of Cedaredge, Colorado passed away Saturday, September 2, 2023 at HopeWest in Grand Junction. Born in 1937 in Jetmore, Kansas, Ralph grew up with his two brothers on a wheat farm during the end of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. There were hard times. Ralph recalled his mother digging horseradish out of creek banks to pickle and sell in town for 5 cents a quart. His father once walked to town with a .22 rifle and 50 bullets. He arrived in town with 51 rabbit pelts, having shot two rabbits with one shot, for rabbit skins brought 5 cents apiece.
After World War II, the family moved to the Montrose area, where Ralph went through junior high and high school. His parents bought the cafė and motel in Cimarron, Colorado, where his mother made her famous pies. Ralph enjoyed pie more than he should have. As he entered his freshman year of high school, he stood 5'2" tall and weighed 170 pounds. He remembered walking into the wrestling room one day at the start of wrestling season and stammering "Coach, d-d-d-d-do you think I could go out for wrestling?" The coach, who ran a famous program known for producing many state champions, said, "Well, I guess you could, Ralph." Four years later, Ralph stood 5'9" and weighed 157 pounds and he took on the toughest task Coach could give him. The team had no heavyweight, and would otherwise give up an automatic forfeit at that weight. Ralph wrestled several classes above his true weight, and ended up beating many of the ranked heavyweights in Western Colorado. Ralph came from a long line of marksmen. His father was a famously good shot. Ralph was also a member of the Rifle Club at Montrose High, where he and his brothers practiced marksmanship with .22 rifles in the school gymnasium. Ralph graduated from Montrose High School in 1955.
Having begun his education in a one-room schoolhouse, Ralph was very quick with numbers and could do complicated math in his head. In written correspondence, he never made a grammatical, spelling, or punctuation error. He studied and wrestled for two years at the University of Colorado in Boulder and then finished his degree and wrestled at Western State College in Gunnison, where he met his future wife, Connie Savage. They were married in 1959 while he completed his master's degree in education and Connie finished her degree in physical education and social studies. Their marriage lasted 63 years.
Their first son, Patrick, was born in Gunnison in 1960. Debra came along in 1961 while Ralph and Connie were guidance counselors at an Indian school on the Navajo Reservation. Ralph and Connie were in charge of 300 Navajo children aged 5-13, which imparted the young couple with a lifelong respect for other cultures. Gary was born in Glenwood Springs, after Ralph and Connie took teaching jobs in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Ralph worked as a physical education teacher and wrestling coach, and subsequently became the principal at various schools in Basalt, Rifle, and New Castle. During the summers, Ralph worked as a stone mason on many projects throughout Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. He and the family spent summer days gathering stone from rockslides in the high country to use on fireplaces and retaining walls. Ralph was an extremely hard worker. He built the family home on the Roaring Fork in Carbondale and later on Main Elk Creek in New Castle.
In 1976, Ralph took an opportunity to begin a new career with State Farm Insurance in Glenwood Springs. He built a great business based on a high level of customer service, trust, and integrity. On more than one occasion, he was recognized as the #1 producer out of 700 agents in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. He had an uncanny knack for remembering his clients' phone numbers, and had complete recall of probably 4,000 phone numbers.
The days as a stone mason ultimately took a toll on Ralph's back, forcing his to retire from State Farm at age 62. He and Connie lived for 13 years on a gorgeous small ranch on Main Elk Creek in New Castle, and then moved to Cedaredge to a creekside home in 2013. Unfortunately his years of retirement were marked with ceaseless back pain, which never relented despite four major surgeries. After fighting the good fight against pain for decades, he is at peace.
Besides family, Ralph's passions were hunting and fishing, horses and dogs, skiing, motorcycling, rafting, and country dancing. He is survived by his wife, Connie; two brothers, Wheeler (Larry) and Dennis, both in California; son Patrick (wife DeLynn Copley) and grandchildren Nick and Raena Hubbell, all in the Boulder area; daughter Debra Alexander of Savannah, Georgia, and South Africa; and son Gary (wife Doris Hubbell) in Crawford, and grandsons Reed of Prescott, Arizona, and Jake Hubbell, who lives in Hotchkiss, Colorado.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 30 at 11 a.m. at the Cedaredge Methodist Community Church, followed by a luncheon at the Hubbell home and garden in Cedaredge.