Ralph G. Carmichael, 90, of Bettendorf, Iowa, died from natural causes on Monday, December 25, 2006, at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf, Iowa.
At Ralph's request, no services were held. His body was cremated with his ashes interred at the National Cemetery on Arsenal Island. Trimble Funeral and Cremation Center, Moline, assisted the family. Memorials in Ralph's name may be sent to the Bettendorf Library Foundation, 2950 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722.
Ralph was born in Roodhouse, IL, on July 21,1916. He was the only child of Grover Carmichael and Martha Alma (Sheppard) Carmichael, both of whom died within a year of his birth. He married Virginia Riley on April 4,1942.
Ralph was a World War Two Veteran, serving with the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946.
Ralph was a remarkable man who will be fondly remembered and missed by many. He had a wonderful sense of humor, a positive outlook on life and a great love of the outdoors. He was a true gentleman and a self-made man. After graduating from high school, Ralph joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was formed during the Depression to provide work on civic projects for the unemployed. Ralph was stationed with the CCC on Arsenal Island. His unit was responsible for maintaining the existing and planting new trees on the island. He then worked for the Davey Tree Expert Company for over thirty years, starting out as a tree trimmer and retiring as District Sales Manager. His motto was "The customer is always right, even when he isn't." One of his career highlights was winning the contract for the landscaping of the Deere and Company World Headquarters. The Davey contract with Deere called for the planting of 800 trees, removing 2,500 trees subject to Dutch elm disease, and the planting of 30 acres of sod. Ralph also supervised the removal of the historic Green Tree of LeClaire, IA. The tree had succumbed to Dutch elm disease, and by counting the rings following its removal, Ralph estimated the tree was at least 230 years old. Following his retirement, Ralph worked as a consulting arborist.
Ralph was proudest of his work as a volunteer for many years with the Bettendorf Public Library. Ralph loved to read, and he felt if he could pass along the love of books to even one child, he was a success in life.
Ralph is survived by his wife of 64 years, Virginia, his daughter and son-in-¬law, Susan and Michael McPeters, his step-grandchildren, Michael and Aimee, and his step-great grandchildren, Andrew and Nicholas. He was also related to the late American composer Hoagy Carmichael, who wrote "Stardust?, which was Ralph's and Virginia's "song."
"He that planteth a tree is a servant of God, he provideth a kindness for many generations, and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him." Henry Van Dyke
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.TrimbleFuneralHomes.com.
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