Ralph Lee Koontz

ralph lee koontz

December 26, 1913 ~ December 23, 1999

Resided in: Asheville, NC

Ralph Lee Koontz, 85, of 190 Brevard Road, Asheville, died Thursday, December 23, 1999, at St. Joseph Hospital following an extended illness.

Mr. Koontz was born December 26, 1913, in Asheville, and was a son of the late Ernest G. and Celestia Putnam Koontz, and Fannie Williams Koontz. He was also preceded in death by a son, Harry Eugene Koontz, a brother, Raymond Koontz, and sisters, Edna Koontz and Margaret Kirby.

He retired in 1979 after 34 years with Thomas & Howard Wholesale Grocer Co. He was an active member of West Asheville Baptist Church where he taught Sunday school, served as deacon, and held other positions of leadership.

Surviving are his wife of 68 years, Edith Vance Koontz; two sons, Charles T. “Tommy” Koontz, Sr., of Arden and Ralph Richard “Dicky” Koontz of Thomasville; a sister, Edythe Koontz Biggers of Lawton, OK; a brother, Elmer G. Koontz of Weaverville; eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be 3:00 pm Sunday in the Patton Avenue chapel of Groce Funeral Home with the Rev. Dr. James H. Johnson and the Rev. Ken Lewis officiating. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Pallbearers will be Charles T. Koontz, Jr., Bryan Lee Koontz, Chuck Durrant, Trey McBride, Elmer Koontz, and Larry Ball.

His family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service Sunday afternoon.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the West Asheville Baptist Church Building Fund, 926 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Pappaw was always so good to the grandkids. He
    always made us feel welcome at his house and tried
    to accomodate the activities of young children. My
    earliest memory is the big swing Pappaw built in the
    back yard. He built it so we could swing really high
    and to a young child, it was as close to flying as I
    could ever get. He let us play at his work bench and
    showed us how to use some of his tools, and let us
    watch while he made or fixed things. He even let us
    swing at golf balls with his golf clubs. He never said
    a harsh word to us even when we were mischevious.
    Pappaw liked guns. He took my brother hunting and
    took us to Sandy Bottoms to target shoot. He
    taught us the proper way to hold, shoot and handle
    a rifle. It didn’t matter that I was a girl, he would
    let me shoot too.
    Christmas was always special. He put lights out
    on the front lawn and tried to make things special
    for the kids. When we went to Mammaw and Pappaw
    Koontz’s on Christmas Eve, we couldn’t wait
    to open presents. But the best times were when
    Pappaw got out the movie projector and showed
    home movies of the grandkids and our parents.
    Those times in the basement were wonderful. We
    all recall the attempts to climb the support pole
    in the middle of the room and the time each of us
    were big enough to go to the top. Each of us re-
    member the silver dollars we got at the end of a school
    year if we were promoted to the next grade. Pappaw
    always encouraged and supported us in all our endea-
    vors. No matter how we really did, we were always
    winners in his eyes.
    I guess one of the fondest memories I have is the
    time I pulled out all my eyelashes. My parents were
    not pleased and I felt pretty foolish. When we went
    to Mammaw and Pappaw’s house, I was a little em-
    barrassed to go inside. So I stayed in the car. Pap-
    paw came down to the car and in his gentle way,
    talked to me until what I had done didn’t seem to
    matter. Even though I had done a pretty stupid thing,
    he still cared about me and he let me know in that
    moment that he would love me no matter what.
    The thing that stands out most in my mind about
    Pappaw is the choice he made before I came along.
    It is no secret of the treatment Pappaw and his
    brother received at the hands of his father as a child
    and young boy. He told me about some of
    this mistreatment, as well as others. The point is
    he did not use these events in his life, as unpleasant
    as they were, as an excuse to be bitter and
    unpleasant himself. It was evident Pappaw made
    the choice to be a better person. There
    was no resemblance between Pappaw and his
    father as far as actions were concerned. Pappaw
    always was a gentleman and he only exhibited
    the personality of his Heavenly Father.
    Much more could be said of Pappaw’s generosity,
    his integrity, his faith, and his invitations to eat out,
    but this medium could not contain it all.
    As someone said, ‘Pappaw was my friend.
    He loved me.’ Yes he was and yes he did.
    I will miss you Pappaw.
    I love you!

  2. My memories of Uncle Ralph were always fond memories. I remember him doing for others many different times. We visited from time to time at Uncle Ralph’s and I remember the swing that Cheryl mentioned. It was a grand time to go and visit and swing in that swing!! Uncle Ralph will be missed by many people, even by those who weren’t privileged to know him as well as his grandchildren!! David

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