Ralph T. Jansen, 83, of New London, Minn., passed away unexpectedly on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, at his residence from an apparent heart attack.
Ralph Terry Jansen was born on Jan. 5, 1940, in Hallock, Minn., the son of Benjamin and Helen (Cameron) Jansen. He grew up in Hallock and graduated from Hallock High School in 1958. In high school, Ralph was active in sports, band and choir. He was a member of the 1956-57 Hallock High School hockey team, the first team to compete in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament in St. Paul. Ralph attended the University of North Dakota and graduated in May of 1962 with a major in business education.
On Sept. 8, 1962, Ralph was united in marriage to Kathleen Wilson and they were blessed with three children, Julie, Colleen and Scott. Ralph spent two years teaching high school in Plummer, Minn., and was responsible for the high school newspaper and annual. He then taught four years at Highland High School in Albuquerque, N.M., and earned his masters of art in teaching business subjects in 1968. From 1968-69, he taught at the Albuquerque Vocational Technical Institute. In August of 1969, they moved to Spicer, Minn., and Ralph began teaching at the Willmar Community College. In the spring of 1995, Ralph was appointed the dean of students and in 1996 became the dean of student life with the new Ridgewater College. In 1998, he was named the dean of instruction for transfer programs at Ridgewater, retiring in 2000.
Following retirement, Ralph worked during the summer months as a shift manager for the sugar beet harvest crews in the Willmar area and also continued teaching as a substitute teacher in the New London-Spicer School District for many years until 2000 (his 80th birthday).
Ralph and Kathy enjoyed traveling all over the world to destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, South America and Churchill, Canada (to see the polar bears). He also enjoyed playing golf, attending and supporting the NL-S athletic activities and programs, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and serving as a board member of the Presbyterian Family Foundation. He was also an active member of Hope Presbyterian Church, where he sang in the church choir, served as an elder (for four terms) and was chairman of the building and the PNC committees.
Ralph loved visiting with his friends and making new acquaintances. He touched many lives throughout his teaching career, was an inspiration for his former students and co-workers, and was loved by many.
He is survived by: his loving wife, Kathy; his three children, Julie (Mike) Russell of Rhinelander, Wis., Colleen (Ted) Redmond of Maplewood and Scott (Laura) Jansen of St. Paul; five grandchildren, Elisabeth, Jacob, Ben, Kate and Miles; and one sister-in-law, Martine Jansen of Colorado; and other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Charles (and Jeanice) and Kenneth.
A celebration of life service was held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Hope Presbyterian Church in Spicer. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Habitat for Humanity or Hope Presbyterian Church are preferred.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Peterson Brothers Green Lake Funeral Home in Spicer. www.petersonbrothers.com.