Ralph Llewellen Ebens - 96

7/22/1920 - 2/3/2017

Rockford, Illinois

Ralph Llewellyn Ebens. 96, passed away unexpectedly on February 3, 2017 in Swedish American Heart Hospital.  Ralph was born on July 22, 1920, in Kings, Illinois, the son of Gertis and Clara Ebens. At a very young age, Ralph left school and relying on his "German grit and determination" started working and building a future for him and his family. Knowing nothing of farming but eager to move forward, Ralph found a farmer willing to teach him and he learned quickly. He was never one to shy away from a "hard days" work. By age 15, he was working in the fields for Delmonte Foods, Rochelle, Illinois. Ralph left the cannery, and took a job shoveling coal off the railroad cars - days of long hours, back breaking labor, and low wages. In Dixon,Illinois, he went from shoveling coal to delivering ice and trucking. In the early years, he also bought and sold many, many cars - often joking that he would own one car when Margaret went into a store and would have sold it and got another before she came out.

Ralph and Margaret (Two) were married January 11, 1947, in Chana, Illinois and they recently celebrated their 70 Wedding Anniversary. They moved from Dixon to Rockford in October 1948 after the birth of their daughter, Carol. In 1952, he built their house on the Rock River and they called it home for the remaining years of their life. After working for Acme Fuel & Heating and Kelly Williamson Company, he started their own Fuel Oil & Heating business, delivering oil in the winter and cleaning furnaces with his stepson, Gene in the summer until gas became popular. He, also, drove dump trucks for Rockford Blacktop, delivering gravel inside the Byron Nuclear Plant when it was being built. Together Ralph and Margaret bought 30 apartment buildings and renovated them at night after working all day.

For 40 years they were "Snowbirds", making Fort Myers, Florida their winter home.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, his daughter, Carol A. Cichella - Jessup (Mike), his stepson, Gene Wienzierl (Mary), 6 grandchildren (John Carlson, Corrie (Tim) Strommer, Matthew (Tosha) Cichella, Kim Dunaway, Tammy (Bob) Horsley and Tiffany (Ed) Kindred),14 great grandchildren,4 great great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.  Also, deeply loved by Perry and Judy Cramer, Penny and Al Jones, Chuck Cichella and Vicki Van Schaik.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents Gertis and Clara Ebens; sisters, Dorothy (Ramon) Camacho and Doris Diesing; granddaughter, Wendy Beauchamp; grandsons, Michael Cichella and D.J. Beauchamp.

Visitation from 11:00 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, Feb 8, 2017, in Sundberg Funeral Home, Ltd., 215 N. Sixth Street Rockford, Illinois. Service will begin at noon with Pastor William Geiseman as officiant. Burial will follow at Scandinavian Cemetery.


11:00 a.m.-noon Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Sundberg Funeral Home


Noon Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Sundberg Funeral Home

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