Ralph Lifford, son of the late, Rev. George and Irene Lifford, Church Hill, TN completed his earthly journey on March 24, 2021 following a brief, but courageous battle with complications from metastatic lung cancer. Ralph grew up in Church Hill, and graduated from Church Hill High School, Class of 1958. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves, and lived/worked in the Kingsport area for 55 years. Ralph was the current "sous chef for Murphy's Tuesday Dinner Group". He owned and operated the former Baseball Card Center, Center St. Kingsport, TN for 10 years. Ralph retired from Eastman Chemical Co. following 35 years of service, and retired "again" on January 15, 2021 from Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes - delivering automotive paint to several auto shops in the Tri-Cities area, following 10 years of service for Sherwin-Williams.
Ralph was preceded also in death by his dear, wonderful 42 year old son, Todd Patrick Lifford (Sept. 2020), sister and brother-in-law, Nannie "Lou" Arnold and Robert S. Arnold; Nephew, Michael S. Arnold, Kingsport and Niece, Amanda D. Jones, Church Hill; several Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and special friends, Dr. Barney Pendleton and Cham Percer.
Survivors include his son, Wesley Paul Lifford, and wife Laura Greer Lifford; grandchildren, Lachlan Greer Lifford, and Liana Kaysley Lifford, Johnson City; Special Friend and mother of his children, Peggy P. Lifford; Special Friend of many years, Patty S. Holbert; Brothers, Elbert "James" (Juda) Lifford, Jerry (Wanda) Lifford, and Leonard Lifford, all of Church Hill. He had many special friends who were also his family: David (Murph to Ralph) and wife Judy Murphy; Barney's son and Ralph's prayer buddy, David Pendleton; Rush Street Friends; Breakfast Group Buddies, Golf Buddies, and a list of others that would take an entire Sunday newspaper to list individually. He loved you all and enjoyed spending time with you and having each and every one of you in his life!
Ralph has left a legacy we all could take lessons from; he was trustworthy, kind, respectful, generous and a humble man. As many have told us, he never had an unkind word for anyone, and always looked for the good and fun in everything he spoke or did. Ralph laughed often and didn't hold back - it was a laugh that was always deep and hearty! He loved spending time with his family and dear friends. Ralph was an avid golfer, a wonderful cook and griller (we feel he learned his grilling from son Wes). He enjoyed working in everyone's yards, cooking with Murph and life in general. Although he was a gentle soul, Ralph was as strong as an ox. Three days before he passed, Ralph whispered to his brother Jerry, "squeeze my hand" - and Ralph proceeded to nearly squeeze his younger brother's hand in two. Ralph was also a "master" of throwing his voice and gave us many laughs and wonderful memories, when he would have others looking around the room or even another room as they tried to figure out which mysterious person was talking to them and from where.
Being a kind, generous man with a willingness to help others, Ralph donated his remains to the ETSU Anatomical Gift Program in support of medical education.
Family and friends are invited to share their memories in a "Celebration of Ralph's Life" on Saturday, April 10, 2021 - 2pm at Jerry and Wanda Lifford's backyard - overlooking #4 green at Bays Mtn. Golf Course, 403 Fairway Dr, Church Hill. Additional parking can be accessed at the Upper Room Fellowship Church, 300 Hawkins Ave, Church Hill, which borders Jerry and Wanda's backyard. Ralph would request you come in casual dress or your golf attire. And yes, Ralph, we'll make sure to have the Masters Golf Tournament on TV.
There are not enough words or gratitude to show the appreciation for all the love, support, prayers, phone calls/texts, food and visits made to Ralph and his family during this challenging time. A big "Thank You" to his Primary Care Physician, Dr. Dale Solomon; attending ER physician, Dr. Drew McFarland, and all of the Ballad Health Nurses and Physicians who assisted in Ralph's care over the past month. Our warm and special "Thank You" to Ralph's Roommate and Caregiver for two sleepless nights, Brother Leonard Lifford - you did great, watching over and caring for Ralph!!! We joked they hadn't been together for two days, and Leonard couldn't find his reading glasses, "They were on Ralph"!
Ralph Lifford - a life well lived with fun and joy....you will be sorely missed!