Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Location: Freeport, IL
|Posted: Mar 26, 2008 5:44 pm Post subject: Ralph Klopfenstein passes
|The folks at GFAI have forwarded this obituary. Mr. Klopfenstein was a past president of the Illinois Grain Dealers Association, one of the organizations that formed GFAI in 1971. Our condolences to Mr. Klopfenstein's family and friends.
NORMAL - Ralph Klopfenstein, 80, Normal, formerly of Gridley, died at 10:10 p.m. Thursday (March 6, 2008) at Heritage Manor Nursing Home, Normal, after an extended illness of Parkinson's and Lewy Body diseases.
His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Gridley Apostolic Christian Church. Church ministers will officiate. Burial will be in Gridley Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home, El Paso, and for one hour prior to the service Monday at his church. Memorial gifts may be made to Apostolic Christian Church, 319 E. Seventh St., Gridley, IL 61744; or Southern Illinois University Foundation, P.O. Box 19666, Springfield, IL 62794 (for Lewy Body Disease research). Online condolences may be sent to his family at www.ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com .
Born Aug. 27, 1927, in Gridley, son of Elmer Jay and Anna Gramm Klopfenstein, he married M. Catherine Slagell on June 2, 1945. She survives.
Also surviving are four sons, Cleve (Kathleen), Peoria; Martin and Stanley, both of Bloomington; and David (Linda), Normal; three daughters, Gloria Volk, Normal; Judy (David) Knobloch, Bloomington; and Cathy (Tim) Hohulin, Roanoke; 16 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Lynn (Miriam), Decatur, Ala.; and Perry (Carol), Gridley; two sisters, Alice (Keith) Stevig, Morton, and Ada (Jerry) Christensen, Gridley; and a sister-in-law, Ruth Klopfenstein, Tallahassee, Fla.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Jay.
He was a member of the Gridley Apostolic Christian Church, where he served in numerous positions. He volunteered on several church-sponsored food aid missions to Central America.
He worked for 45 years in agricultural marketing at all levels, including Commodity Credit Corp. and Continental Grain Co. in Chicago and 15 years as CEO of a large international futures brokerage firm, formerly Heinold Commodities. He also founded and owned Big Rock Estates, a residential subdivision in Gridley, and was involved in family farming operations.
In 1983, he accompanied Secretary of Agriculture John Block as business advisor on a 15-day trade and diplomatic mission to six countries in Central and South America. He was a member of Gov.-elect Jim Thompson's transition team in 1978 and vice chairman of U.S. Sen. Charles Percy's senatorial campaign in 1984.
Appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as deputy administrator of commodities, USDA, he worked and resided in Washington, D.C., from 1986 to 1991. In 1993, he traveled to Hungary on behalf of USDA to change post-Communist agricultural grain marketing to a free enterprise system. He served as a board director of BroMenn Hospital in Normal from 1994 to 2001.
Ralph was a 20-year member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He held a seven-year membership to the Kansas City Board of Trade and the Peoria Board of Trade and was a chartered member of the International Monetary Market.
He received Bloomington Pantagraph's "Outstanding Agriculturist of the Year" award in 1978 and USDA's Administrator's Award in 1988 for "Outstanding Service to Agriculture."
He operated Klopfenstein Grain Co. in Gridley for eight years while serving as president of Illinois Grain and Feed Association and as a director for the National Grain and Feed Association.
He was a frequent guest lecturer at several universities, including Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College. He served on numerous political, civic, and community committees.
He was educated in the Gridley public schools, graduating in the class of 1945, and later served on the Gridley School Board.
He was a devoted Christian and family man. His loving and generous spirit to his family and everyone he met will always be cherished and remembered.