By Paul Schmitt
A longtime Rotarian and executive director of the Railbrook Foundation is being remembered for his tireless commitment to the community and local causes. Attorney Ralph Herlache of Sturgeon Bay passed away last Friday at the age of 77. Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club member Mark Lake says Herlache was one of the founders of the club in 1991 and epitomized Rotary's slogan of "service above self".
Herlache was past president for both Sturgeon Bay Rotary clubs and also held the position of District Governor for District 6220 in 1980-81. According to his obituary, he served on many local boards including the Door County Hospital Board of Trustees, the Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Society. Funeral services for Ralph Herlache will be held this Friday morning. You can his complete obituary below. By Forbes Funeral Home
Ralph Frederick Herlache, 77, of Sturgeon Bay passed away suddenly on June 15, 2018 at Door County Medical Center. He was born March 27, 1941 in Sturgeon Bay to Clifford and Clara (Barney) Herlache. On August 20, 1989 he married Judith Kay (Eich) Johnson in Sturgeon Bay.
After graduating from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1959, Ralph earned his bachelor's degree and went to Law School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his law career with Johnson and Johnson in Sturgeon Bay and later established his own firm, R.F. Herlache Law Pratice. After many years of private practice, Ralph became the executive director of the Raibrook Foundation. He retired from that position in 2010.
One of Ralph's greatest passions in life was his involvement with Rotary International. He served as president of the Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary Club from 1974-75. He then served as club secretary from 1976-1990. Ralph was District Governor from 1981-80 and district secretary from 1981-1988. In 1991, Ralph was instrumental in the founding of the Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club where he served in numerous capacities for many years.
Throughout his life, Ralph was a very active member of the community. He served as commodore and rear commodore of the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club and was a board member and director of numerous organizations including: Door County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the Chamber of Commerce, Yacht Club Regatta, the Door County Economic Development Association, the Raibrook Foundation, and the Historical Society. Ralph was also an archivist for Door County and provided free legal service to the Door County Museum and other tax-exempt groups.
He did manage to find time for recreation and enjoyed years of softball, basketball, tennis, golf and bowling. His favorite pass times were watching baseball games and cutting wood. He especially enjoyed coffee with his group of friends at the Corner Café. Ralph will always be remembered for his sense of humor and as the guy who always wore short sleeves in winter because "it never felt cold to him".
Survivors include his wife Judy; Ralph's daughters, Sarah (Mike) Herlache-Koberdanz, Phoneix, AZ; Peggy Herlache, St. Petersburg, FL; Ralph's granddaughter, Katie; four step-children, Carl "Rusty" Johnson, Sturgeon Bay; Craig Johnson, Sturgeon Bay; Julie (Paul) Halgren, Plymouth, MN; Curt (Chandall) Johnson, Sturgeon Bay; step-grandchildren, Jeep, Alex, Kristen, Emily, Grant, Colt, and Deanna; two step-great grandchildren, Hayden and Silas; two brothers, Tom (Jill) Herlache and John (Nell) Herlache, all of Sturgeon Bay; brother-in-law, Ranny (Kris) Nelson, Jacksonport; sister-in-law, Jan Carroll, Maple Grove, MN.
He was preceded in death by three sisters, Clara "Bunny" Williams, Mary Herlache, Ruth Nelson and step-grandson Cody Johnson.
Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, June 25, 2018 at Forbes Funeral Home, the Rev. Ken Boettcher officiating. Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery, Jacksonport. Friends may call from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Forbes Funeral Home and then after 10:00 a.m. Monday at the funeral home until the time of service. Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer's Foundation or the Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club.
Thank you to Whispering Pines and Door County Medical Center for the wonderful care and support, and to Roger Crass and Gene Remy for all they did for Ralph.