Ralph Everett Townsend
March 6, 1933-June 17, 2020
Portola Valley, California
Submitted by Ryan Townsend
Ralph Everett Townsend, Jr. passed away peacefully on June 17th of natural causes. He was born on March 6th, 1933 in Spokane, Washington and spent his childhood in Avery, Idaho. There he developed a fervent love for the railroad that passed through town, and his father worked as Station Master for the historic Avery Train Depot. Avery was a tiny town, and reminiscing about his 8th grade graduating class, Ralph loved to brag about being valedictorian in a class of... three! His mother Helen relocated mid-week to the town of St. Maries so that Ralph and his sister Dorothy could attend high school. After that, Ralph graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 1955 and was voted “most talkative” - a trait that he carried throughout his life. He married his college sweetheart, Margaret Ann Trefren, just one week after graduation. The couple moved to Ohio shortly after their wedding, when Ralph was called to serve in the U.S. Air Force. After completing a tour of duty in Japan, Margaret and Ralph settled in the Bay Area in 1958, where the couple had four children - Steve Townsend (Kathleen), Lois Townsend Petrera (John), Amy Zanfagna (Michael), and Carol Townsend. In 1979, Ralph married his second wife, Darlene Marie Townsend, whom he met while managing N. California operations of the T. Louis Snitzer Company. Ralph and Darlene purchased a home in Portola Valley shortly after their wedding and Ralph welcomed his fifth and final child, Ryan Townsend, in 1993. Ralph was deeply loved in the Portola Valley community, known for his infectious smile, selfless generosity, and love for conversation. In 2018, Ralph moved to Brookdale Senior Living in Redwood City where he quickly became beloved by staff, and a staple of the community choir. In late May, Ralph moved to a private home in San Mateo and spent his final days surrounded by his family, friends, and the many neighbors who loved and cherished him.
In addition to his children, Ralph will be missed by his cherished grandchildren, Nicole, Allison, Emily, Christina, Sofia, and Nathan; nieces Helen and Diana, and nephews Andy and Mark. He is predeceased by his parents, sisters, wives, and youngest daughter.
The entire family thanks the dedicated and nurturing staff at Brookdale Home Health and Brookdale Hospice Care for ensuring Ralph’s outstanding care and peaceful transition.