Ralph Eugene Stevens of Shiner, Texas, aged 86, passed away Thursday, March 16, 2023. He was born December 2, 1936 in Burkburnett, Texas to Virgil Vance and Elva Jane England Stevens. He enjoyed fishing and the waterfront as a young boy having spent many of his childhood years in Gregory. His family relocated to Jacksboro in his teen years, and he quickly acquired chef skills in the family-owned Brown Derby in Jacksboro and the Dixie Dog Drive In in Burkburnett.
After graduating from Jacksboro High School in 1955, he set off to Texas Tech with aspirations of being an agriculture teacher. After one semester, he returned home to take care of family responsibilities. He married the love of his life, Kathleen Roark, on April 10, 1960. He dedicated his career to his employment with Texas Electric where he retired as transmission electrical foreman in 1992. He answered the call to service by enlisting in the United States Army and Texas National Guard and served faithfully from 1963 to 1968. He and Kathy moved to Eastland in 1963. Ralph was community minded and gave selflessly to a number of organizations in the years they were raising a family. He served on the board for Bell Hurst Theatre, was devoted to the Eastland Quarterback club, coached baseball, spent countless hours mowing and caring for the fields and ultimately served as the President of the Texas Teenage Baseball Association. Once his days as a baseball dad ended, he took on the task of short order cook for the concession at the ball fields and people turned out from town nightly just for his burgers and homemade corn dogs. Ralph and Kathy also spent time supporting the 4-H program and they were honored by Eastland 4-H as Volunteer Leaders of the Year in 1990.
Once their kids were grown, Ralph and Kathy relocated to Wichita Falls in 1993 where they opened a restaurant, The Hamilton Kitchen, and ran it for a few years before moving to Gonzales in 1998. He was called back out of retirement to serve as the safety inspector for the construction of many of the windfarms in the Sweetwater area. Once his commitments were finished with the wind farms, he and Kathy relocated one last time to Shiner. They opened Sandwiches and Such Sandwich Shop, where he joyfully fed locals and visitors for several years. His greatest accomplishment was his family and the close to sixty-three years that he loved and cared for his Kathy.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents and great grandson, Colton McMillian. He is survived by his wife Kathy, daughters Jennifer Shook (Tony) of Magnolia Beach and Natalie Knesek (Tim) of Gonzales, and son Greg (Suzanne) of Colleyville and sister, Sharon Morris (Ty) of Kemp. He adored his grandchildren: Brandon, Tyler, and Ashlea McMillian; Mason, Cole, and Brooke Stevens; and Kristofer, Kathleen, and Keely Knesek and his six great-grandchildren: Chloe, Cooper, Oren, Easton and Alannah McMillian and Taylor Boatright.
More than anything he supported the endeavors of his children and grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Texas 4-H Center, Shiner Band Boosters, or a local charity that supports youth development.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial service on Saturday, April 8 at 2:00 p.m. at Shiner Central Station. Friends may leave their condolences to the family by visiting www.shinerfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Shiner Funeral Home.