Ralph W. Cantrell was born February 15, 1948, in Smithville, TN, to Herbert Cantrell and Lillie (Farless) Cantrell. He passed peacefully surrounded by his family on September 5, 2023. He loved the outdoors from an early age. He spent many years hunting, fishing, and causing nonsense with his brothers and enjoyed playing football during his high school years. He got the nickname “Ruff” during his football playing days. He was the star running back and team captain for DeKalb County High School in Smithville, Tennessee. While a knee injury his senior year took away his chances of playing college football, he carried a love for the Tennessee Volunteers with him his entire life and enjoyed watching their football team play on Saturdays with his son and grandsons.
He met Debra Woodin after he moved to Wyoming for work and proposed to her two weeks later. They enjoyed 44 wonderful years together. In 1986, they welcomed their son Zachary; daughter Keri followed in 1989. The kids sports and other activities kept them busy and allowed Ralph to explore different areas across the United States and Canada. Nothing, however, was better to Ralph than beautiful Wyoming. The river was a special place to him; he spent many a happy afternoon throwing duck decoys for his chocolate lab Sammi who passed several years ago.
After Ralph moved to Wyoming, he worked in the oilfields as a heavy equipment operator before moving to pipeline welding, which he did for most of his working years. He was employed by Blackhills Trucking as a mechanic before moving to Source Gas in 1992. He was first an equipment operator and then became a welder until his retirement in 2014.
Ralph was a no-nonsense, no fuss man who deeply loved his family. His great joy in life was every moment spent with his grandsons Kale and Tell. He never tired of watching them play and hearing about their various shenanigans; he never missed a chance to tell them how much he loved them, and they felt the same about their Papa! Ralph was a quiet, devout man who could often be found reading his Bible and spending time doing his daily devotionals. His faith was extremely important to him.
Ralph is survived by his wife Debbie, son Zachary (Tara), daughter Keri, and his grandsons Kale and Tell. He is also survived by his brother Lewis (Peggy) and many nieces and nephews back home in Tennessee and across the United States; his nephew Reece has been reminiscing with Debbie frequently about his wonderful Uncle Ruff.
Ralph was a wonderful man who left a legacy of love with his family. While he is deeply missed, the family knows he is healthy, happy, and at peace. They enjoy imaging him riverside with his best girl Sammi, throwing the decoys and enjoying the outdoors.
The family will be gathering on Monday, September 11, 2pm, at Bustards Funeral Home reminiscing about Ralph; all are invited. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice in Ralph’s name.