Ralph Dobbins met his maker at the age of 72 after claiming for the past decade he would live another four years. Ralph was born on June 25, 1949, in Sweden, Missouri. He purportedly was born in a barn, which was news to his mother (Geneva Pettyjohn) when we asked her. However, we can verify he passed away at Unity Point in Rock Island on November 20, 2021.
The son of Dan Dobbins, he grew up free range working around the farm with his father. Ralph lucked into a marriage with Joyce (Kuhn) on July 5, 1973, who mothered him for 37 years until her untimely death on November 10, 2010. He was a lost soul without her and now has another chance to gain some direction.
Ralph was a stay-at-home father while his children were young, which gave him a reprieve from working as a welder for the Rock Island Railroad. He returned to work, putting in long hours at Midwest Trailer Repair and Blackhawk Fleet, to help support his family until his retirement.
A home body, Ralph loved his family and telling stories. The stories were always entertaining even if embellished. Ralph was a jack-of-all-trades and a master-at-none. He never met a tinkering project at a yard sale, flee market or auction that he didn’t want to start. There are several such projects that remain.
Ralph was a high school graduate. His biggest regret was not going to college. Consequently, he pushed (and sometimes compelled) his children to continue their education. They all love him for it and disagree with his position that he wasn’t needed or wouldn’t be missed when he was gone.
Ralph’s grandchildren will realize his enduring love when they benefit from college funds he set aside for them. He helped pay for their music lessons and wanted them to know that he would always love them. Their ‘fat back’ is finally safe from him.
Sons fortunate to be born to the self-described poor man: Robert (Chantilly) Dobbins in San Diego, and Derrick Dobbins in East Moline. Daughter, who cared for him after the passing of their mother: Terri (Anthony) Dobmann in Moline. Grandchildren who will get no further opportunities to build memories with him: Jacy Flint-Dobbins, Ava Rae Dobbins, Arthur Rafe Dobbins, Gwendolyn Dobmann, and Phyllis Dobmann. Harassed but loved sister: Mary Zeigler. Half- and step-siblings: Many in number—some of whom were able to outlast him, others whom were not.
It would be a great honor to his memory if you set up a 529 education account in each of your own children and grandchildren’s names. Online condolences may be expressed to Ralph’s family by posting on the tribute wall.