Ralph M. McCann, 86, of Carlisle, died peacefully at home on Saturday, April 17, 2021, with his wife and children at his side. He was born May 12, 1934, in Sullivan County, the eldest child of Ervin and Jessie (Bolenbaugh) McCann.
A 1952 graduate of Carlisle-Haddon High School, Ralph joined the U.S. Army in 1956. He received basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and earned commendations for his service to the Courts and Boards section at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was released from active duty in 1958 and was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve in 1962. Ralph was proud of his service and was a member of the American Legion.
He had worked as a telegrapher for the railroad, but when Indiana & Michigan Power Co. opened its Breed Plant in Fairbanks in 1960, he became one of its first employees. He worked there until its closure in 1994, when he helped close the plant and then retired. Quickly bored with retirement, he then drove a transport van for a rehabilitation hospital for a while before fully retiring.
Ralph took college classes throughout much of his adult life and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Indiana State University in 1982. He worked on his private pilot’s license from 1953 to 1955. A key leader in starting the Carlisle Volunteer Ambulance Service, he also secured his EMT license and ran with the ambulance for many years.
Ralph was a member of the Carlisle Lions Club for many years and was instrumental in bringing the Frontier Days festival to Carlisle. He loved his hometown and was happy to be involved in community activities and to visit with folks around town. He loved raising watermelons, gardening, and taking his produce to farmers markets. He was a lifetime member of the Carlisle United Methodist Church.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard McCann; his in-laws, Bert and Edna Gilmore; and brothers-in-law, Donald Gilmore, Joseph Junod, and Wayne Anderson.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rita (Gilmore) McCann; daughter, Andrea McCann; son, Aaron McCann; granddaughter, Carrie Cox (Ryan); great-granddaughter, Cora Cox; sisters, Ruth Ann Criss and Betty Anderson; sisters-in-law, Mary Ann McCann, Sharon Junod, Sandy Riggs (Larry), and Judy Gilmore; and many favorite nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Ralph will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at Holmes Memorial Chapel, with Pastor Paul Myers officiating. Burial will follow, with military recognition by the Sullivan County Honor Guard, at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Carlisle. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until time of service.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to may make a donation in Ralph’s name to the Carlisle Volunteer Ambulance Service, PO Box 206, Carlisle, IN 47838, or to the Carlisle United Methodist Church, PO Box 215, Carlisle, IN 47838. Envelopes will also be available at the funeral home.
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