Ralph Walter Stenzel, Sr., 88, passed away peacefully on October 20, 2010 in Santa Fe, Texas.
He was born on June 26, 1922 in Houston, Texas to Arthur Henry Stenzel and Irene Emma Medlenka and grew up in the East End, graduating from Sam Houston High School in 1939. He attended Texas A&M University and was drafted into the Army in 1943 where he became an aerial photographer serving in Guam during WW II. Upon his discharge he returned to Houston where he went to work for his father at Stenzel Pattern Works. In 1944, prior to his deployment to Guam, he married Joyce Gardner, which began a union that would span over 62 years and produce two children, Ralph Walter Stenzel, Jr. and Peggy Stenzel Gilliland.
In the 1950’s, Ralph formed The Stenware Corporation, a real estate firm, with his good friend, William Ware. He was active in the Houston Board of Realtors and served as treasurer. In June 1970, he, along with his wife’s relatives, formed a catering company known as Special Occasions Services. Upon retirement, he traveled to Santa Fe where he helped his son operate his business, Santa Fe True Value Hardware. After Joyce’s death in 2006, he moved to Santa Fe to be closer to his son, Ralph.
He is survived by his son, Ralph Stenzel, Jr. and his wife, Kay of Santa Fe and his daughter, Peggy Stenzel Gilliland and her husband, Glenn of Aurora, Colorado. Grandchildren, Stephanie Stenzel Talafuse (Gilbert) of Houston, Steven Stenzel (Dixie) of Santa Fe, Kenneth Stenzel (Elizabeth) of Virginia and Sheri Stenzel of Houston, Kyle Gilliland (Katie) of Parker, Colorado and Shannon Gilliland of Lone Tree Colorado. Great-grandchildren, Joshua Stenzel, Alex Stenzel, Bryan Hallenbeck, Kira Gilliland, Logan Gilliland and Kevin Stenzel.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 30, 2010, in the Chapel of the Angels at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston. Interment will follow under the direction of Hayes Funeral Home, (409) 925-3501. www.HayesFuneralHome.com