Ralph N. Engel

Ralph N. Engel, a lifelong Hays resident and businessman, passed away on March 19, at Brewster Place Retirement Community in Topeka.

Ralph was born January 11, 1925, in Hays, the second child and first son of Carl A. and Mary Dreher Engel. He spent his adolescence in Hays, culminating upon graduation from St. Joseph's Military Academy in 1943. Adulthood came quickly thereafter, when he enlisted in the United States Navy and saw action in the South Pacific with the CUB 16 of the Naval Amphibious Forces.  He was honorably discharged in 1946.

 Upon returning to Hays, Ralph attended Ft. Hays State University on the GI Bill and graduated with a Bachelor of Business in 1951. He enjoyed those years and membership in Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity.  The friendships Ralph developed then were close, and he sustained them throughout the rest of his life.

 On August 25, 1949, Ralph and Mary Bernita Rohr married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hays. They both enjoyed playing golf, a sport handed down generations to their great-grandchildren. Their marriage spanned 48 years until Bernita’s passing in 1997.

Following college graduation Ralph became heavily involved in his family's extensive poultry and farming operations.  When the Engel Hatchery closed, Ralph embraced career change and became a licensed investment advisor and stockbroker. His practice thrived and grew into Werth Wealth Management, which operates today. Ralph believed meeting clients, discussing the various investments to help them meet their goals and seeing their success was an honor.  He thoroughly loved his profession, and he did not retire his license until age 90.

Ralph believed in paying his dues to the Hays community which meant so much to him. He was an active member of many organizations too numerous to mention here. He served on the boards of St. Anthony Hospital, Midwest Energy, Ellis County Historical Society, and the St. Joseph's Church Committee. He served as president of the Kansas Poultry Association and St. Joseph’s Military Academy Alumni Association, and he was proud to be a charter member of Hays VFW Post No. 9075.

 Golfing with family and friends at Smoky Hill Country Club well into his 90s, attending the annual Veteran's Day observances, and engaging in the battle of wits with his Round Table lunch buddies for over 40 years brought him immense pleasure.  His was a life well-lived.

Leaving to mourn his passing are his children: Keith and his wife, Peggy Engel of Wichita and their two children Christie Welch and Jeffrey Engel and his wife, Beth; Chuck and his wife, Janet Engel, of Topeka, and their daughter Amelia Engel; and Maryann Schmidt and her husband Paul, of Ft. Mill, South Carolina, and their three children: Molly Brunjes, and her husband Ben; Michael and his wife Anne Schmidt; and David and his wife Caroline Schmidt; ten great grandchildren; his brother, Ernest, of Hays; his sister Norma and her husband Lee Munk of Salina; and sisters-in-law Kathryn Rohr and Lillian Rohr both of Hays.  

 Ralph was predeceased by his wife Bernita; granddaughter Julia Engel; his parents Carl and Mary Engel; his brother Harold Engel; and his sisters Caroline Goetz and Irene Houston.

 Ralph's life is to be celebrated during a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. on March 24, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.  Burial will follow the services at St. Joseph’s Cemetery with military honors.  His family will host a plated luncheon following burial at Smoky Hill Country Club.  

The family will greet Ralph's friends, extended family, and acquaintances Tuesday between 5 and 8 p.m. at Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory 2509 Vine Hays, KS 67601. A parish vigil service will be at 6:30 p.m. followed by a combined Third and Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus rosary service all at the funeral home.  

Memorial gifts are suggested to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church or to Fort Hays State University men’s and women’s golf programs.

Services in care of Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, 2509 Vine Street Hays, KS 67601.

Condolences may be left by guest book at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com or by email at keithleyfuneralhomes@gmail.com 

Posted online on March 22, 2021