Ralph Bunche Smith was born March 17, 1949 to the late Rev. Thornton, Sr. and Clytee Smith. Ralph attended Zion M.B. Church, East Chicago, Indiana under the late Rev. T.H. Rankin and Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. James C. Wade, Jr. He later confessed his life in Christ in November 2013 with Rev. Dr. J.C. Wade Jr. during a hospital stay. Ralph departed this life, into an everlasting life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Friday, November 20, 2020 at Methodist Hospital Southlake, in Merrillville, Indiana.
RALPH graduated from East Chicago Washington High School in 1967.He was a member of the Washington Senators Varsity Basketball team from his freshman through senior years.He made it to the IHSAA state championship in 1966.During high school, he became a member of the El Monarchs where he developed lifelong friendships. In 1978, Ralph married the love of his life, Dorothy R. Hunter, and God blessed this union with two wonderful children, Crystal and Nicholas Smith. Ralph worked at Ford Motor Company where he retired after 30 years. He later served as a Bus Aide for the School City of East Chicago, for 13 years.
RALPH was known for driving his huge cars and keeping them immaculately clean. Not only did he keep his cars clean, but when he stepped out in his dress clothes, he made sure to be sharp from head to toe! Ralph was the type of person who never met a stranger, and could carry on a conversation like he had known the person for years. One of his most recent satisfying accomplishments was joining Facebook and Twitter. Ralph even became an expert at posting emojis! He was a sports enthusiast and his favorite player was Lebron James. Ralph was referred toas the “Family Ambassador”- the official representative and cheerleader of any family member he got wind of who had achieved or accomplished whatever they had set out to do. He made a point of calling everyfamily member and friend to encourage or just to talk. Ralph never ended a call without his signature sayings, “TAKE IT LIGHT, TAKE IT LIGHT”and “LOVE YA, LOVE YA, LOVE YA.”
RALPH is preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Thornton, Sr., and Clytee Smith; mother and father in law, Sam and Dorothy Hunter; brother, Thornton Smith, Jr.; sisters, Ruby L. Johnson and Shirley J. Givens; grandmother, Viola Winters; and cousin/brother, Charles (Snooky) Forrest.
RALPH leaves to cherish his memories:devoted wife of 42 years, Dorothy Hunter Smith of Merrillville, IN; son, Nicholas D. (Brishonda) Smith of Hammond, IN; daughter, Crystal D. Smith of Chicago, IL; sister, Patricia Ann (Bishop Howard) Swancy of Los Angeles, CA;brother in law, Sam Hunter, Jr. of East Chicago, IN; brother in law, David (Victoria) Hunter of Merrillville, IN; brother in law, Wallace Hunter of East Chicago, IN; sister in law, Mary (Harold) Odrick of Fredericksburg, VA; sister in law, Michelle Hunter of Aurora, CO; aunt, Bedahlia (Clarence) Truttling of Gary, IN;sister in law, Vanessa Smith of Chicago Heights, IL; cousin/sister-in-law, Helen Forrest of Chicago, IL; grandson, Braylen Chafen of Hammond, IN; nephew/brother, Rev.Chet J. Johnson, Sr. of Gary, IN; Goddaughter, Sabrina Ella McKinley of Dallas, TX; lifelong best friend, Larry Ross of Gary, IN;surrogate mother, Erma Monroe of East Chicago, IN; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.
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