Ralph Edwin Billow, 91, of Fremont, OH went to be with the Lord on Saturday, April 10, 2021 with his wife of seventy-two years at his side. Ralph was born on September 9, 1929 in Fayette, OH to William and Allie (Cotton) Billow. As a child his family relocated to the Fremont area and after attending several area schools he graduated in 1948 from Jackson Burgoon High School. He married Juanita Linton on January 16, 1949 at the Fremont Nazarene Church. Over the years he was associated with: the Sandusky County Ham Radio Club, Sandusky County Historical Society, the Sandusky River Valley Beekeepers Association, the Sandusky County Beautification Commission, Hayes Presidential Center, a Life member of the Ohio Historical Society, a Life member of the NRA, Ohio Historical Canoe Route Association (canoeing across Ohio five times), the Building and Grounds Advisory Committee at the Hayes Presidential Center and for many years a member of the Board of Trustees of the Fremont Church of the Nazarene. In 1993 the Fremont Chamber of Commerce honored Ralph by presenting him with the Distinguished Service Award for that year. For many years Ralph and his wife were familiar faces at area festivals where they made open-kettle apple butter. The sale of their apple butter enabled them to finance an extended vacation to Australia to visit Juanita’s longtime penpal. Among his many travels was a memorable Alaskan trip Ralph and two friends took in 1973. They started from Fremont and drove the entire length of Alaska in a converted van (in which they slept) eating only one meal in a restaurant the entire trip.
He began his forty-three-year long career with the Hayes Presidential Center right out of high school as a chauffeur for Admiral Hayes (the grandson of President Rutherford B. Hayes) in 1949. He eventually began working with the grounds superintendent as a gardener (his lifelong passion) and in 1958 he was promoted to his position as Superintendent of Grounds and Maintenance until his retirement in 1992. In recognition of his forty-three years of faithful service and love for trees, the Hayes Presidential Center honored Ralph at an American Chestnut tree planting ceremony at Spiegel Grove in May of 2017 to reintroduce the species back to the Grove that President Hayes had begun in 1873.
After his retirement, Ralph and Juanita became faithful volunteers with Mobil Meals at Fremont Memorial Hospital for ten years.
Ralph is survived by his wife Juanita; sons, Ronald (Margaret), Dennis (Susan), Steve (Deborah), and son-in-law, James Collum; grandchildren, Mathew (Heather), Vaughn, Alison (Nate) Hyde, Timothy (Hailey), Stacy (Ian) West, Stephanie Billow, Lisa Foreman, Brendan and Zachary Collum; great grandchildren, Jackson and Piper Billow, Audrey, Lily, and Claire West.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Ruth Hawkins and Mary Suffecool; brothers, Clair and Wayne Billow and daughter, Elaine Collum.
In memory of Ralph, donations may be made to the Fremont Nazarene Church, Hayes Presidential Center, the Sandusky County Historical Society or Heartland Hospice.
Visitation will take place on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fremont Church of the Nazarene, 1925 N Fifth St., Fremont, OH 43420.
Service will be Friday, April 16, 2021 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the church with an hour of visitation prior with Pastor Dan Vickey officiating.
The use of face masks is highly recommended while indoors. If you would prefer, you may express your condolences at www.whhfh.com or call the funeral home at 419-332-6409 to request that your name be signed in the guest book.
Burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery.