Ralph J. Barton (87), of Casper, Wyoming passed away on November 1, 2023 at Central Wyoming Hospice.
Ralph was born in Casper, Wyoming to Kathryn (Mahoney) Barton and Ralph Elton Barton on the first day of summer 1937, the longest day of the year. He attended Park Elementary school and was always late even though he lived across the street! He graduated from Natrona County High School in 1954 and received a BS in business from Colorado College in 1958. He started his military service in Ft. Benning, GA and was honorably discharged from the Army.
He met his future wife Lucille Atkinson in 1952 while they were attending NCHS. They married in 1957 at the Santa Barbara Mission in California. They had many interesting travels with family and friends including Ireland, China, Tibet, Fiji, the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico.
Ralph began his banking career at Wyoming National Bank in the mailroom. He had many positions including teller, auditor, loan officer and Repo-Man. Boy, did he have some stories to tell! From there he went to Guaranty Federal Saving and Loan, and the Small Business Administration.
And then things really got interesting! He mixed cement for his good friend, Hermann Koch, at Wyoming Brick and Supply; Harvested honey from beehives at Sunshine Honey; Was a professional ski patroller at Hogadon Ski Area; Helped his friends at the Ellis Ranch; Camp jack for S&S Outfitter & Guides and a groundskeeper at two of the local golf courses. Ralph retired from Hilltop National Bank in 2003, where he worked security and building maintenance.
In the 1960’s Lucille and Ralph bought a small piece of land on their beloved Casper Mountain. Spending their summers in a small refurbished camp trailer, entertaining a great many friends and family! 1977 brought the building of the Barton cabin, built by dear friends and family. Ralph has never ever ever been considered a handyman! (Lucille did all the repairs.) He was charged with the of holding ladders, handing out nails, being sent to Casper for unneeded parts (just to keep him out from under foot), and distributing beers to needy workers. Upon the completion of the cabin, Ralph’s cronies presented him with a framed golden hammer which is still proudly displayed at the cabin! Did I mention beer?
As a longtime volunteer for Casper Mountain Fire Department, Ralph got the opportunity to fight the devastating fires in Yellowstone National Park in 1988. He had a grand time scaring the daylights out of the volunteers on his crew from Chicago, “You don’t worry about the bears, it’s the mountain lions….you can’t hear them sneaking up on you!” Great fun!! Until his crew captain told him to knock it off!
When he was young, Ralph learned to ski on Casper Mountain with his parents. Later he, with Lucille’s help, to teach their kids to ski. In 1968 he became a member of the National Ski Patrol System, achieving life member status for his many years volunteering at Hogadon Ski Area.
The Memorial Hospital of Natrona County was fortunate to have Ralph on the Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1992. He was also on the Hogadon Advisory Board for the City of Casper. Other associations he was involved in include the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Club (58 years), the Rocky Mountain Elks Foundation, Casper Historical Society, Ducks Unlimited, Rotary and the Lions Club.
Dogs. Ralph loved dogs. His dogs, his kid’s dogs, friend’s dogs, any dog. He easily earned the nickname “The Dogfather.” What a sight to see Ralph cruising down the street with his dog and every other dog in the family hanging out every window, five or six at a time! He didn’t care that the entire car was encased in dog slobber, dog hair and whatever else they drug into the vehicle. They loved him too!
Ralph is survived by his wife of 66 years Lucille Barton, dog Rose, three children: son James (Judy) of Casper, daughters Karen (Kelly) McGowan of Casper and Kathryn (Irina) Barton of Baton Rouge, LA. He is also survived by two granddaughters: Amanda (Julian) Valdez, and Kelsey (Taylor) Schwahn and 4 great grandchildren all of Casper, WY.
He was preceded in death by his mother Kathryn, father Ralph and brother Bill. Dogs, Dutchess, Jet, Oly, Java, and Kona.
In lieu of flowers, Ralph requested that any donations be made to Casper Mountain Fire at 1000 Lemers Road, Casper, WY 82601 or Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions. As per his request, no services will be held. A Celebration of Life will be planned for next summer.
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