December 9, 1932 — November 6, 2019
Ralph was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, to Leonard VanBrunt and Maude Stamper VanBrunt, the fifth of seven children. He was raised on a farm in Oklahoma, learning early the ethics of hard work and doing a job well, but also enjoying the freedom of country living. As a young boy he knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot and he never wavered. Through determination and hard work he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in aeronautical engineering. Later he also earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
Ralph was a skilled pilot, one of the best, and was highly respected as a USAF officer. He began his Air Force career as an instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, and later served tours in Germany and Japan as well as serving in Viet Nam and at several stateside bases.
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He was married to Joy Lymburner VanBrunt, a marriage of 48 years. Following Joy's death he married Donna Silver and they shared nearly five years before pulmonary fibrosis claimed his life and he "slipped the surly bonds of earth."
After serving 26 years in the Air Force, he began a second career as an engineer for Boeing Aviation in the Seattle, Washington, area. He was known as an outstanding employee and a great team member.
Ralph is survived by loving family members wife, Donna; daughters Karen VanBrunt of Prospect, Ohio and Laurel Magee and husband Mark of Littleton, Colorado and son, Leland VanBrunt of Ridgecrest, California; three grandchildren, Karina, Alexander, and Abigail Magee; and two sisters Eldee Dunn and Dorothy Eanes both of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
As an officer and a pilot, as a Boeing engineer, and as a father he was thought of as the best of the best. If you had the good fortune to be acquainted with him you will recognize him in these heartfelt statements made by friends. "He was an incredibly nice guy." "He will always be remembered as the example to follow." "His truly was a life well lived." Yes, the best of the best.