Ralph William Houseknecht Sr. - age 89, a lifelong resident of Batavia and retired President of Batavia Pepsi-Cola and Loose Ends Vending, went home to be with the Lord Jesus, surrounded by his loving family, on May 30th.
Ralph was born on December 24, 1926. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Seward and Kathryn (Dustin) Houseknecht; four brothers (Paul, Seward, Richard and brother Robert); a son Edward; and grandson Michael earlier this year.
Ralph is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Agnes (Moynihan) Houseknecht; their children: Greg of Batavia, Ralph Jr. (Katy) of Silver Springs, Mary Kay (Bill) Barton of Silver Springs, Tom (Lynn) Houseknecht of Batavia, Tim (Sue) Houseknecht of Interlaken, John Houseknecht of Wyoming, and Katie (Gary) Berger of Stafford; beloved grandchildren: Joshua, Will, Paul, Mark, Craig, Eric, Ted, Sarah, Jake, Sara, Jack, and Bella; great grandchildren, Meghan and Ella, and their Mom, Jen (Thornton) Houseknecht; sisters-in-law, Frances (Moynihan) Driscoll of Batavia, Barbara Houseknecht (Greensboro, N.C.), and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Ralph left high school early to join the service during World War II, where he served in the U.S. Navy after training at the Sampson Naval Training Station on Seneca Lake. Ralph was deployed to the Pacific, where he served with the Seabees, part of the Naval Construction Forces. When the war ended, Ralph returned safely home to Batavia and finished high school, after which he and his sweetheart, Agnes, were wed on April 3, 1948 at St. Mary’s Church in Batavia. They settled on Franklin Street next to Aggie’s parents, started their family, and Ralph began his career at Pepsi-Cola.
The loss of Ralph and Aggie’s third child Edward at the age of three spurred a lifelong dedication to supporting the Genesee County ARC in Batavia. Pepsi-Cola of Batavia was the first business in the area to hire ARC associates, twice earning ARC’s business of the year award. Ralph humbly accepted the award, saying, “We do it out of love.” In his many years managing Pepsi, Ralph was a firm believer that you should never ask an employee to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. His door was always open for any employee or customer to come in, creating a true family atmosphere in the workplace.
Ralph was a loving, dedicated husband and father, who was always at Sunday Mass with Agnes and their family. When one of his grandsons asked their Grandpa what he thought was the biggest problem in the world today, Ralph replied without hesitation, “The breakdown of the family.” Ralph was a great example of what a father should be: loving, caring, forgiving, and funny. Ralph’s friends and golfing buddies will remember him as the guy who always loved a good joke.
Ralph always showed his unwavering love, no matter the circumstance, and was always ready to lend a hand financially to anyone who needed it. Ralph’s children and grandchildren are forever grateful for the man he was, and his spirit will live on in them. Ralph will be missed, not only by his family, but his friends, employees and the community he loved.
Friends are invited to call on Saturday June 4, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at Resurrection Parish (St. Joseph’s Church) 303 East Main Street Batavia, New York 14020. A 12:00 Noon Mass of Christian Burial will immediately follow calling hours. Mr. Houseknecht will be laid to rest in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Batavia.
Flowers are graciously declined. Memorials may be made to Genesee ARC, 64 Walnut Street, Batavia, NY 14020 or Notre Dame High School 73 Union St. Batavia. For more information please call (585) 343-8260 or to leave a message of condolence visit www.gilmartinfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company Inc. 329-333 West Main Street Batavia, New York 14020.