EL PASO, Texas – Ralph Arnold Devenger passed away from natural causes at his home in El Paso on July 17, at the age of 71. Ralph was born on November 21, 1949, in New London, Conn., the fourth of nine children.
As a child Ralph grew up in Portsmouth, R.I., where his father was stationed in the Navy. The family moved back to Hardwick, Vt., when Ralph was a junior in high school. He attended and graduated from Hardwick Academy. Following graduation in 1968, Ralph joined the United States Army and over the next twenty years he was stationed throughout the United States, Korea, and Germany until he retired from military service in 1988. His many years in Germany always held a special place in his heart and provided a backdrop for a multitude of stories which he enjoyed recounting.
In October 1981, Ralph married the love of his life, Bonnie Gokey. They made their home together in El Paso. After retirement, Ralph continued his passion for learning, earning a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas El Paso. Ralph truly was a life-long learner, passionate about constantly pursuing knowledge. He was always available to answer trivia questions via phone calls when a family member was in need. The family would often joke that they would want him on their team of Trivial Pursuit. Like his father, he was an avid reader, enjoying books of all genres.
He could easily get lost in a good book for hours unless there was a Yankees baseball game on television. Ralph loved the New York Yankees; he loved to watch them play, celebrated all their wins, and suffered through all their losses. He was always ready to defend his beloved Yankees and particularly enjoyed discussing their triumphs during family reunions and bantering with family who were rival Red Sox fans.
His love of baseball started at a young age and he collected, traded, and amassed an impressive baseball card collection over his lifetime, in which he took great pride. Besides watching the game, Ralph also loved to play baseball and softball. He and his wife also spent their time together bowling and fishing. To his dismay, his love, Bonnie, passed away in 2004. He sought comfort in fishing at one of several of his sacred fishing holes in New Mexico where he would often escape to enjoy the outdoors. These pastimes and his passions were not lost as he introduced and passed them along to many of his children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Ralph was predeceased by his mother, Helene (Pelletier) Devenger (1972), his brother Larry Devenger of Vermont in 1997, his wife Bonnie in 2004, his father Ralph Devenger of Vermont in 2016, his sister Beth Smith of Maryland in 2017, and his great grandson, Aiden Zander Goff. Ralph is survived by his daughters Tammie Brummett of Ohio, Colleen Powers of Nevada, and Jodi Rossik and Kimberly Ramirez, both of El Paso. He is also survived by his stepmother Jane (Benway) Devenger of Vermont; brothers Louis Taylor of Colorado, Lance Devenger of Texas, and JC Devenger of Maryland; sisters Louise Grimes of Colorado, and Dixie Mercier and Corinne Brochu, both of Vermont, along with numerous beloved grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, who he kept in touch with, despite the distance, over social media.
In lieu of a formal funeral, the family will honor Ralph’s wishes by joining together this fall to celebrate his life and spread his ashes in a special place which held many of his best memories. In lieu of flowers, Ralph’s daughters request instead that you honor him by donating to the El Paso Humane Society, a nonprofit that was near and dear to his heart. Their address is 4991 Fred Wilson Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79906.