HILTERBRAN, Ralph O., age 81 of Vandalia, passed away Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Ralph was raised on a farm in Locust Grove, Ohio, the youngest boy of 17. He had a love of cars early on and started working on cars in a dealership at the age of 14. He continued to work on cars in his own shop, Ralph’s Automotive, which he opened in Vandalia in 1969. He operated the shop until 2003 when he retired. Ralph’s was a staple of the community for nearly 53 years and is still in operation. He loved his customers, employees, and made may lasting friendships over the years. He sponsored numerous Vandalia Little League sports teams and coached many baseball and softball teams. He was proud to support the Vandalia City Schools through sports sponsorships and after prom. Ralph also was proud to serve his country as a member of the National Guard.
Ralph's love for cars got him into drag racing and restoring vintage cars. After retirement, Ralph could be found at the race track helping his son, Darren with his race car. Ralph was always at the racetrack lining Darren up for every pass. He enjoyed attending car shows every fall in the Smoky Mountains, as well as attending NASCAR races at Daytona and The Brickyard.
Ralph genuinely loved his family. He and his wife, Sandra practically raised their 3 children at the shop. On any given day, they could be found as youngsters riding their big wheels or tricycles in the bays of the shop. They always loved having their grandbabies over and hosting many family gatherings.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Orly and Edna, wife, Sandra, daughters, Susan Acres & Kathy Conaway; 9 brothers, Richard, John, William, Lester, Roy, Orly Jr, Aruthor, Russle, and Jerry; and 5 Sisters, Mary, Ruth Oberslake, Ethel Evans, Norma Jean Dixon and Phyllis West. He is survived by 2 sisters, Eula Nicely and Betty Sorrell, daughter, Gail Sannings & husband Chris, grandsons, Kyle, Cody & Cory; son-in-law, Jim Acres, grandsons, Logan & Peyton; son, R. Darren & wife, Ruby grandchildren, Abby, Lily, Chloe & Wyatt; son Rick, & wife, Diana; son, Jeff & wife, Sherri, granddaughter, Amber, grandson Nicholas; 4 great-grandchildren, 3 sisters-in-laws, 3 brothers-in-laws and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am, Tuesday, November 30, at the Morton & Whetstone Funeral Home, Vandalia. Interment will follow at Polk Grove Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday evening from 4-7 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Dayton in Ralph’s memory.
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