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Franz Neumeier 10-05-2008 02:14 PM

Ralph DuPae passed away last night
Just off the phone with Judy who told me the sad news that [URL=""]Ralph DuPae[/URL] passed away last night. Our memories are with him, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife.

I'm the wrong one to post an obituary here as unfortunately I haven't had the pleasure to meet him personally, but just wanted to get the sad news out.

Judy Patsch 10-05-2008 02:47 PM

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Ralph's wife phoned me shortly after noon with the news of his death. He died in his sleep at home today, Sunday. The LaCrosse Tribune will be the newspaper with information tomorrow or Tuesday. I met Ralph on the DQ in 1976, when he was just beginning his phenomenal project of gathering steamboat photos. He thought 20,000 or so would be a wonderful thing - we have ended up with over 45,000 thanks to Ralph's sleuthing and traveling the country gathering from collections most didn't know existed. Thanks to Ralph, we have a wonderful photographic history of steamboating in the U.S. Ralph always brought duplicates of the latest acquisitions to sell at S&D and Midwest Buffs. Much of my collection comes from his work. But buying pix from Ralph often looked like a drug deal going down - he'd motion for you to come out of a meeting or conversation and then you'd go to a back corner or even out to his van to peruse the new finds. How he could keep track of whether he had certain photos or not was beyond me. Ralph not only was a good friend to many in the steamboating world, but he served the steamboating world in a fashion no other has ever done. He will be missed.

Shipyard Sam 10-05-2008 04:42 PM

Ralph DuPae left a living, lasting legacy that will be remembered as long as the history of steamboats is researched. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends.

Alan Bates 10-06-2008 04:44 AM

There was no other like Ralph DuPae. His knowledge and generosity will long be remembered.

Keith Norrington 10-06-2008 08:33 AM

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Indeed, Ralph Du Pae was a unique individual who enriched our lives by having known him. Many of us had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Ralph for many years, sharing the excitement of his "finds" of river pictures which he "excavated" from all over the country for nearly four decades. You never knew when Ralph would ring your doorbell and be standing there with boxes of steamboat pictures! For every photo that Ralph copied from a collection, the lender was the recipient of either a negative of the borrowed image or another photo of your choice. At river meetings and elsewhere, Ralph's car was always loaded FULL of pictures which he sold at almost giveaway prices to appreciative collectors. My filing cabinets are loaded with photographs I otherwise wouldn't have if not for Ralph. After he retired and had to cease traveling due to health issues, Ralph said he knew of many more steamboat pictures "still out there", but he simply ran out of time and energy. He was 83 years old and a U.S. Navy veteran of WW II.

A long whistle salute to you Ralph, with much gratitude for your longtime friendship, generosity and especially for the phenomenal work you did in preserving river history. Steamboat enthusiasts, historians, researchers and museum curators are forever in your debt.

Photos herewith: (1) Jeff Spear, Ralph and Keith at the 1986 S&D meeting - note the picture box! (2) Bert Fenn and Ralph at the 1989 S&D meeting. Ralph loved his specially made (by his daughter) sweatshirt featuring the Str. GRAND REPUBLIC, but bearing the name R.R. Du PAE. (3) 50th wedding anniversary celebration invitation for Ralph and Kathleen Du Pae aboard the Str. JULIA BELLE SWAIN on August 16, 1998. Ralph was an engineer for Northern Engraving Corporation for 48 years and the invitations were on metal. The reverse side bears a color image of the JULIA BELLE -- and there was a separate boarding pass, also in metal, featuring a photo of the JBS in moonlight.

Keith Norrington 10-07-2008 07:20 AM

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Funeral services for Ralph will be held at 10 AM on Friday, October 10, at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home-Nelson Chapel, 1007 Caledonia Street, La Crosse. Burial will be in the Garden Mausoleum at Oak Grove Cemetery. Visitation is at 9 AM on Friday until time of service. Memorials are preferred and will be determined by the family at a later date.

Attached is a photo, taken in August, 2005 by Lil Prater Smith, during a DQ visit to La Crosse. In the photo, surrounding Ralph, are Helen Prater, Lucy Stoll (who passed away on March 22 this year) and Lucy's daughters, Susan Burks and Gerry Swarts. The gentleman in the rear is Ralph's brother in law.

Keith Norrington 10-08-2008 10:20 AM

Today's issue of THE LA CROSSE TRIBUNE contains a full obituary for Ralph, as well as an article about him entitled [B]"A Life Remembered: Ralph Du Pae Turned Hobby into World-Class Collection".[/B]

The website link for the newspaper is [url=]La Crosse Tribune - Local news, sports, weather, obituaries, cars, homes, jobs, tourism, events, photos and video[/url].

Bill Steinike 10-08-2008 11:13 AM

Here is the obit from today's La Crosse Tribune
Here is the obit from today's La Crosse Tribune:
Ralph R. Du Pae


Bill Steinike 10-08-2008 11:23 AM

Here is the news article about Ralph DuPae from today's La Crosse Tribune
Here is the news article about Ralph DuPae that was in today's La Crosse Tribune:

[url=]A life remembered: Ralph Du Pae turned hobby into world-class collection : La Crosse Tribune[/url]

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