HOMESTEAD, Wis. — Ralph Hoaglund, 91, of Homestead, passed away on Feb. 15, 2017, at ManorCare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Kingsford.
Ralph was born on Dec. 29, 1925, in Iron Mountain, to Edwin and Esther (Thomas) Hoaglund. A lifelong resident of the area, Ralph attended grade school in Homestead, and graduated with the Kingsford High School class of 1943. After High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving the last half of World War II in the South Pacific, reaching the rate of petty officer second class, radioman.
In May of 1948, Ralph married Rhoda Osterberg, who became his right arm in all of his ventures. They enjoyed 66 years, in fact just one day short of 67 years, before Rhoda passed in May 2014.
In the early 1950s, Ralph took over his father’s dairy farm for a few years, but gave that up in favor of retail employment with Montgomery Ward before assuming the position of general manager of the Florence County Cooperative in Aurora, Wis., During his 25 years there, he greatly expanded the services that the Co-op offered to its members. Professional associations related to his service at the Co-op included loan officer and assistant treasurer of the Co-op Credit Union, chairman of the Midland Managers Association of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and general chairman of the Midland Managers Association in Minneapolis.
Ralph took pride in service to his community, including as a Charter Member of the Homestead-Aurora Conservation Club, serving as president or secretary for nearly 50 years.
Ralph also served on the Homestead Town Board as a supervisor for 10 years. Being a historian at heart, Ralph helped celebrate the Homestead Centennial in 1994 by writing “The Town of Homestead: From Things I Have Heard and Things I Remember,” with input from the community and much help from his first cousin, Marion Hoaglund.
In his retirement Ralph worked as a logger and sawyer, then tried his hand at making maple syrup, and what started as a hobby turned into an award-winning business.
Ralph and Rhoda were honored in 1991 at the North American Maple Syrup Convention with the first place award for light amber syrup and in 1997 as the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer of the year. In his second retirement he turned his Sugar Shack into a wood-working shop, where he continued to work with the wood from his beloved Peaceful Acres.
In addition to his parents and wife, Ralph was preceded in death by his brother, Bob; his grand-daughter, Heather LaBine Bahr; his son-in-law, David LaBine, and his son-in-law Barry Reinheimer.
Ralph is survived by his three children, Rhonda LaBine of DePere, Wis., Wesley Hoaglund and Susan Reinheimer, both of Orlando, Fla., sister Janet (Melvin) Dahl of Arlington Heights, Ill.; grandchildren, Andrea and Brian LaBine, Axel and Emily Reinheimer; great-grandchildren, Alexis, Indica, Olivia, Shonn and Seth; and great-great-grandchild, Chloe, with another on the way. Ralph was very proud of his family and their contributions to society.
In accordance with Ralph’s wishes, private family services will be held at a later date. Burial will be in the Aurora-Homestead Cemetery.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon and Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain with the arrangements.