Cover photo for Ralph Donald Surber's Obituary
1939 Ralph 2023

Ralph Donald Surber

May 19, 1939 — June 4, 2023


“Well, hi there.”

Those are the three words we loved hearing.

Ralph Surber’s greeting told you a lot about this genuine, kind and caring man. He was always up for a cup of coffee and good conversation, which often included a history lesson or two.

His remarkable life was reflected in his stories and ability to share an interesting fact about nearly any topic or location. He was a human encyclopedia.

This loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather passed away June 4, 2023, at a local care center.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, June 23, at First United Methodist Church in Ponca, Nebraska. Visitation will be 9-11 a.m. at the church.  Mohr Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be shared at

Ralph Donald Surber was born on May 19, 1939, in Ponca to Ralph and Marie (Wixcel) Surber. He graduated from Waterbury High School in 1957.

Ralph began his career as a heavy equipment operator and helped build the Milford Dam in Junction City, Kansas, and Interstate 29 in South Dakota. Then he mastered the art of welding and worked in refrigeration maintenance at IBP/Tyson until his retirement. He also instructed welding classes for the Willis 4-H Club.

Always wearing his signature ball cap, Ralph enjoyed going to auctions, estate sales and swap meets in search of antique tools and other treasures. He was a proud member of the Missouri Valley Wrench Club and a Western connoisseur who rarely missed an episode of “Gunsmoke.”

Ralph was always willing to lend a helping hand, and he could fix just about anything.

A “great grandpa” long before he officially became a great-grandpa, Ralph hosted numerous family get-togethers at his home near Ponca and the cross-country vacations he was part of created lifelong memories for many. He also enjoyed attending his grandkids’ and great-grandkids’ events and activities.

We’ll definitely miss his stories, smile and witty sense of humor.

Those left to honor his memory include his children, Don (Patti) Surber of Belden, Nebraska, Kim (Mark) Strathman of Randolph, Nebraska, and Kelly (Toni) Surber of Mena, Arkansas; sister, Carol Angles of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; grandchildren, Ryan (Alina) Surber of Wayne, Nebraska, Bennie (Holli) Surber of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, Brent (Allie Hagedorn) Surber of Hartley, Iowa, Lee Clarkson, of Ponca, Nebraska, Raymond (Misty) Surber of Mena, Arkansas, Shonn (Yoom) Surber of Des Moines, Iowa, Trever (Aimee) Surber of Omaha, Nebraska, Jennifer Peterson of Dixon, Nebraska, Tyler Ellyson of Kearney, Nebraska, Nick (Samantha) Sweisberger of Junction City, Kansas, and Amber Sweisberger of Sioux City, Iowa; as well as numerous great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Lawrence; sister, Catherine; and granddaughter, Melissa Clarkson – one of his “little darlings.”

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Donald Surber, please visit our flower store.


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