Ralph Schroeder
Ralph Schroeder

Obituary of Ralph Esch Schroeder

On June 17th, 2024, Ralph Esch Schroeder, age 92, peacefully passed away at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, leaving behind a legacy of love, hard work, and cherished memories.

Ralph was born on June 16th, 1932, on the SW quarter 32-24-13 W3 in a farmhouse south of Elrose, Saskatchewan, to Arthur and Margaret Schroeder. Known in his youth for his curly blonde hair and long eyelashes, Ralph spent his early years surrounded by family and friends, often riding and roping on the prairies with his cousin and close companion, Arnold.

After attending Hester School until grade 8, Ralph devoted himself to farming alongside his father. Taking the reins at 20, following his father's passing in 1952, Ralph cared for his mother and younger sister, Elaine. On March 19th, 1956, Ralph married Marion Barlow in Calgary, Alberta. Together, they lived on the farm until 1963, welcoming sons Lee in 1957 and Robert in 1962. In 1963, Ralph answered the call of adventure spurred by a farm sale ad in the paper, leading the family north to Rio Grande, Alberta. In April 1966, they completed their family by adopting a daughter, Nancy.

Ralph was always ready to lend a hand, whether through local initiatives like the Hereford Association and the 4-H Beef Club or helping neighboring farmers with chores. Ralph’s dream was to farm alongside his sons, which he fulfilled. In 1997, Ralph and Marion moved to Beaverlodge to retire. Even in retirement, Ralph kept his Hereford cattle and continued to farm until 2005. During his golden years, Ralph enjoyed traveling with Marion in their fifth-wheel trailer, including memorable trips such as panning for gold in the Yukon, driving the Alaska Highway, and spending time with family.

Ralph's gentle spirit and infectious humor endeared him to all who knew him. A true cowboy at heart, he relished life's simple pleasures: tending his herd, playing cards with family, spinning yarns, and insisting that a good steak dinner and drink were the only way to celebrate. He adored Marion, his wife of 68 years, and cherished every moment with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Memories of ice cream runs, card games, branding time, horse races, story time with a foot rub, castrating the farm cat, combine rides on the trusty five-gallon pail, and of course, eating ruffles with Papa, will forever warm their hearts.

Ralph was preceded in death by his son Lee in 2015, as well as his parents, Arthur ("Shorty") in 1962 and Margaret Schroeder in 1982. He is survived by Marion, his loving wife; son Robert (Sandra) Schroeder; daughter Nancy (Robert) Pool; grandchildren Scott (Mandy), Angela, Ryan (Erin), Leigh-Anne (Travis), Jennifer, Rebecca (Rylan), Stuart (Quincey), and Mathew; great-grandchildren Kegan, Lainey, Hayley, Jaiden, Wyatt, Aiden, and Landon. He is also survived by his sister, Elaine (John) Penner, and family; cousins Lillian Schroeder-McTighe, Fr. Maurice Schroeder, Ruth St. Germaine, and Leila Ruhr.

In honoring Ralph's wishes, there will be no formal funeral service. Instead, the family invites all who knew him to celebrate his life with stories, laughter, a good steak dinner with a whiskey, and a toast to life. Contributions in Ralph's memory may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or the MS Society, reflecting his caring and generous spirit.

Ralph Schroeder's life was a testament to resilience, kindness, and unwavering dedication—a legacy that will continue to inspire and comfort those who loved him dearly.


I Know You’ll Miss This Man

By Baxter Black


The Lord spoke to the heavy hearts that stood with hats in hand

“Your sadness pains me deeply and I know you’ll miss this man

But it’s true what you’ve been hearing, Heaven is a real place.

That’s no small consolation. You should use that fact to face


The emptiness his parting left that seeps into your bones

And draw on it to ease your pain. For he is not alone.

You see, all his friends are up here and all his loved ones, too,

Cause it wouldn’t be a heaven, without each one of you.


And heaven for a cowboy is just what you might expect,

It’s horses that need tunin’ up and heifers that need checked.

It’s long rides with a purpose and a code that lights the way

And a satisfying reason to get up every day.


It’s the ranch he’s always dreamed of, and never knew he’d find

And if you think about it, you can see it in your mind.

Him, leanin’ in the saddle with his ol’ hat on his head,

Contentment set upon his face like blankets on a bed.


The leather creaks a little as he shifts there in the seat.

The bit chains give a jingle when his pony switches feet.

And you somehow get the feelin’ that he’s sittin’ on a throne

A’gazin’ out on paradise just like it was his own.


I can promise you he’s happy, though I know you can’t pretend

You’re glad he made the journey. It’s too hard to comprehend.

The earthly way you look at things can never satisfy

Your lack of understanding for the answer to the ‘Why?’


So, I offer this small comfort to put your grief to rest,

I only take the top hands ‘cause my crew’s the very best.

And I know it might seem selfish to friends and next of kin

But I needed one more cowboy and Ralph, he fit right in.”

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