Loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, Ralph Arwood Crites, 82, of Philippi, departed this life peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013, at 6 p.m. in the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center emergency room. His death was unexpected, even though he had been in declining health for many years.
He was born July 29, 1931 in Hardy County to Ervin Marshall and Maud Lillian (Baldwin) Crites as the youngest of 11 children. On June 7, 1952, he married Marguerite Phyllis Smith of Petersburg at Chanute Air Force Base in Champaign, Ill. They enjoyed 61 years of marriage. Phyllis preceded him in death on June 6, 2013. They parented two daughters, Margaret A. (Crites) Bartlett and Joan L. (Crites) Propst; two infant children preceded him in death.
Ralph (or Nook) leaves behind two sons-in-law, David Bartlett and Ben Propst; four grandsons, Matthew R. Crites and wife, Misty; Daniel A. Propst and fiance, Jeni Wigglesworth; Samuel B. Propst and wife, Rachel; and Scott Bartlett and wife, Judy and eight great-grandchildren: Alex Shay Mitchell; Lincoln and Jordan Crites; Alan S. Propst; Grant, Regan, Cole and Luke Bartlett. He also is survived by two sisters, Janet (Crites) Seymour and Betty (Crites) McConnell, both of Moorefield, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Pearl (Crites) Hyre and Ada (Crites) Vance, and six brothers, Brook, Clyde, Clarence (John), Delmer, Elmer and Otha.
Ralph A. Crites
Mr. Crites was a 1951 graduate of Moorefield High School. He served two years in the United States Air Force as a flight engineer on a B-29 bomber and was honorably discharged in 1953. He was a graduate of the West Virginia Business School in Clarksburg with an associate's degree in accounting. He was later employed by the H-P Stores Inc. in 1959 as the acting manager, co-manager and manager of stores in Hinton, Petersburg, Moorefield, and Philippi. Mr. Crites and his wife, Phyllis were co-owners and operators of Crites, a family clothing business and home theater video. He retired to enjoy hunting, gardening, fishing and adventuring with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a member of the Mansfield United Methodist Church, Philippi Volunteer Fire Department, Bigelow Lodge No. 52, A.F. & A.M., a 32nd degree Scottish Rite member and the Red Fez Patrol.
At the wishes of the deceased, his body has been donated to the West Virginia University Human Gift Registry. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory and honor of Ralph A. Crites may be made to the Philippi Volunteer Fire Department (c/o John Green, Main Street, Philippi WV 26416). A memorial service will be held at the Philippi United Methodist Church on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Timothy Bleigh officiating. A celebration of life will be held immediately following the memorial service in the Fellowship Hall of the Philippi United Methodist Church.