m. 6 JUL 1887
Facts and Events
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Residence: Ralph lived near Randalia, IA when I, Don, knew him. I and my older brother, Kenneth W. were born on the Quass family farms. Ralph and his family moved to an 80 acre farm a few miles west of Randalia, Iowa, in 1939 when their youngest child was still in grade school. The move was a result of poor farming decisions by Ralph. The untimely death of his second son, Norma in 1938 took the desire to farm out of him. Their daughter, Bernice was married to Ralph Wegner in the family farmhouse west of Randalia. Ralph and Emma were lifelong members of the Methodist Church and were active in the Randalia Methodist Church. The couple's youngest daughter, Dorothy was married in the church in Randalia as well as their oldest daughter, Lucille. After the children left the family farm, the couple moved to another 80 acre farm about 3 miles due south of the farm. This farm had been used as a gravel mine, so the agrible acreage was decreased. Ralph rented out some of the acreage and raised a few dairy cattle for sale of milk. They lived there into their retirement years and the children talked them into moving into a home owned by their daughter Lucille who was married to Carl Clemens. The home was located in Shell Rock, Iowa backing up to the Shell Rock River. The couple lived there for several years. Ralph became ill and passed away in the hospital in nearby Waverly, Iowa. His funeral service was conducted in the Shell Rock Methodist Church. The service was led by a 'local pastor' (an unordained Methodist trained as a pastor) as the church was too small to afford a full time ordained pastor. Emma continued to live by herself for a few more years, ultmately moving in with her youngest son, Louis Wayne and his wife in Tripoli, Iowa. She resided there until she required skilled nursing care and was moved into a nursing home in Sumner, Iowa where she lived out her final days. Ralph was very intelligent and wanted to become a doctor and attended Upper Northern Iowa college for a semester, returning home to help run the family farm upon the death of his father, Edward Charles Quass, thereby halting his medical education. He really had no apptitude for farming, but his mother, Hannah Vaughn Quass purchased the registered bull and cows for him as reward for helping with the farm. Later his mother-in-law, loaned him several thousand dollars to help him out. He could not repay the loan and she never really forgave him for it.
Occupation: farmer and salesman. Ralph was primarily a small farmer renting and operating 80 acre farms. On the farm 2 miles south of Independence, he raised registered Guernsey dairy cattle for sale of milk. He supplemented the dairy herd by raising grains and hay to feed them and for sale. He later moved his family to a farm 2.5 miles south of Independence, the 'pony farm' as his son, Louis Wayne called it. He 'lost' the herd through a series of misfortunes during the depression and moved to an 80 acre farm west of Randalia. The family lived there about a year, then moved to another 80 acre farm a mile or so south of it and west of Randalia. There he continued to raise a few dairy cattle along with hogs and chickens. He sold the milk and cream separated in the family farmhouse basement. He raised oats and corn as well as hayed the remainder of the acreage, selling what he didn't use for the livestock. He also raised a small field of Sorghum from time to time which was processed into syrup for income near Sumner, Iowa, some 15 miles west of the farm. After the children left the family for lives of their own, the couple moved to another farm about 3 miles due south. Emma was an avid gardner and raised chickens, geese, Guinea hens, primarily for family consumption and from time to time turkeys for income. She sold eggs and chickens not consumed by the family to supplement family income as well.
While farming on the farm west of Randalia, Ralph took a part-time job selling Watkins products door to door mainly to farmwives in the area. He continued this occupation after moving to the farm 3 miles south of the farm. It was not a vocation he enjoyed and finally ceased doing so as he became older moving towards retirement. The family assumed it was 'hobby income' at best. When Ralph's youngest son, Louis Wayne left home, Ralph knew he could not do farming alone and could not afford to hire help. So downsizing became necessary, thus the move to the farm 3 miles south. While this farm was 80 acres, it had been mined for gravel, so the agriable acreage was reduced. Ralph leased out portions of the farmland and raised a few dairy cows for milk. Emma raised only enough chickens for family eggs and meat. Her garden was reduced in size to be more managable with just her labors. As their health and vigor deteriorated, the family talked them into moving to a house in Shell Rock. Emma continued to garden at the home in Shell Rock, Iowa.
Ralph had a flash temper that was unpredictable, but was a pleasant man whose company was enjoyed by others. He loved his family, and was very sentimental as he aged, often breaking down weeping at family gatherings when offering grace, reminicing or at patriotic events. It was a trait his eldest son developed later in his life as well. He served on the Randalia school board. He was a county assessor in Buchanan county to supplement income before moving to Fayette county. He was quite strict with his children's behavior. He demanded no idle conversation from them nor giggling or laughing at mealtimes. If a child giggled or laughed at meals, he had them stand outside in the entryway, rain, cold or shine, till they could/would compose themselves. His two oldest sons, Ken and Norman, were the instigators and would pinch and tickle their siblings till they giggled or laughed and were sent outside. Ralph went to bed early, so his wife Emma and the children would sit around the kitchen table and converse, laugh and tell stories after he retired for the night. Ralph was extremely difficult to work for according to his children. Things had to be done his way or his temper would flair up unpredictably. Once he hit his thumb with a hammer and in a fit of temper threw the hammer into a field. Later he had his children search and find it. His oldest son, Ken wanted to attend college, as he knew his father had, but Ralph told him no, as Ken was to help with the family farm. Like his father, Ken had no apptitude for farming, so he married and left home in March 1938. Ralph's second son, Norman was a natural at farming and Ralph then depended upon him to help him succeed. When Norman died in the fall of 1938, Ralph was devastated and really lost his will to farm afterwards. He and his wife, Emma saw to it that all the children learned to play a musical instrument and had the basics of playing the piano. The children were encouraged to participate in school sports, but farm chores came first. All played in band. They all attended church on a regular basis and Sunday was a traditional day of rest from farming chores, except the basics necessary for the livestock. They demanded the children do well at school. And each child had specific duties to perform on the farm. The family participated in social activities and had many lifelong friends in the Independence area and Randalia. Ralph enjoyed the family gatherings at the family farm, and looked forward to them as father and host. He was not particularly engaged with his grandchildren when they visited, leaving that task to his wife, Emma.
Obituary in possession of gson, Donald W. Quass.
A copy of Ralph's death certificate is in the possession of gson, Ken W. Quass. The marriage license/certificate is in the possession of the Keith Ostrander family. Other family records have been passed to the children of Ralph and Emma, each getting a share of pictures and memorabilia.
Family records in possession of ??