Born into the Laughlin and Basso/Uliana pioneer families, Ralph lived his entire life in his beloved Livermore.
Many happy moments were spent at Granny Laughlin’s ranch at the end of Croak Road. He especially enjoyed Sheep Shearing Saturday, even when his job was at the bottom of the wool sack! He was loved and appreciated by his many aunts and uncles, and they enriched his life in so many ways. While his mother (Sara Laughlin) worked, he was raised by his loving Gram Uliana. The “outdoors” was the favorite part of all he did; be it hunting game birds, deer, shooting targets and clays, or hiking and riding a Jeep through the Livermore hills on Pine Ridge, the Blackbird, or Rock Creek Ranch.
He loved music, played several instruments and was in the marching band when he wasn’t playing high school football. Ralph graduated from Livermore High School in 1957 and went to work at Vallecitos General Electric Nuclear Facility as a radiation technician specializing in safety. Always desiring to be in business for himself and control his own destiny, he left GE to work at Reagan Realty, Allied Brokers, and later opened Ralph Laughlin and Associates Real Estate.
His love of people led him to serve in many groups; the farm bureau, Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s associations, Native Sons of the Golden West and the Martin Kaufmann 100 Club. Ralph’s love of the Livermore community and his love for rodeo were a natural fit. Believing in the original spirit that began the Livermore Rodeo at the end of World War I, he saw it as a way to involve and draw Livermore residents together. He served as Rodeo Association president in 1987 and 1988, and was honored as the Grand Marshal of the Livermore Rodeo Parade in 2005. Born without a nervous bone in his body, Ralph loved to have a microphone in his hand. He enjoyed being the emcee for the rodeo queen competition for many years.
Ralph was above all a family man! Married to his high school sweetheart for 60 years (Kathryn McGlinchy), they raised a son (Steve) who was his pride and joy and helper in all things. Steve blessed Ralph with two granddaughters. As they grew up, the girls embraced Ralph’s love of rodeo. He delighted in them and their accomplishments. Bailey was Miss Livermore Rodeo in 2015, and Morgan in 2019. Morgan continued with her royalty honors and is the reigning Miss Rodeo California.
On Feb. 8, 2003, his life was forever changed when he suffered a massive stroke. It was declared that he would live in a vegetative state unable to read, write, walk or talk. The determined fighter that he was, Ralph worked on rehabilitation and defied expectations. He did learn to walk enough to transfer, talk enough to make his wants known and hold limited conversation, could read parts of the daily newspaper with help, and found connection to the world through television. His angelic caregivers learned to make his every want a reality, and they enriched his life by sharing the happenings of their lives.
Ralph enjoyed many visitors, none more faithful than Rob and the late Rich Fletcher, who took him to lunch weekly for years. Lifelong friend, Ron Kennedy, used his building talents to fabricate whatever was needed, making the outdoors a continued possibility. Having overcome so many challenges, Ralph truly continued to live life to its fullest.
On Dec. 24, 2020, Ralph left to sing and play in the heavenly choir. Due to Covid restrictions, there will be no services. Memorial donations can be made to the non-profit Livermore Rodeo Foundation, which supports breast cancer survivors, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), ValleyCare Health Library, and the Lil Partners Rodeo serving special needs children. Please address donations to Livermore Rodeo Foundation, P.O. Box 646, Livermore, CA 94551-0646.