Ralph Edward Appelgate, 73, died peacefully on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at his rural Ames home, surrounded by family, after a long battle with cancer. Ralph was born June 23, 1939 in Nevada, Iowa to Glen and Evelyn (McNatton) Appelgate. He graduated from Nevada High School in 1957. He married his high school sweetheart, Linda Louks of Nevada, on June 24, 1961. The couple made their home in Nevada for 26 years and then moved to a wooded acreage in rural Ames. While living in Nevada, Ralph was active in community events including serving two terms on the Nevada City Council.

He worked at Ames Lab at Iowa State University for 40 years, retiring in 1999.

Ralph’s interests included restoring antique cars and attending antique car shows. He was known by family and friends as "a Chevy man." His favorite car restoration project was his 1953 Chevy Bel Air, which won 16 awards at car shows around Iowa. He loved spending time with family, taking a family vacation to Europe and Disney World and fishing trips to Canada. Ralph especially enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, such as working on projects in his shop, enjoying the wildlife at his acreage and enjoying a cup of coffee on his front porch in the woods.

Church was a very important part of Ralph’s life. He was a member of the Nevada United Methodist Church for 74 years. He served on several committees and shared his handyman talents to help at the church. Ralph was a member of the Nevada Masonic Lodge for 50 years. He served as Master for two terms

His family was the joy of Ralph’s life. He is survived by his wife Linda Appelgate; one daughter, De Ann (Appelgate) Freel and son-in-law Randy Freel of Nevada; one son, Monte Appelgate and daughter-in-law Michele Appelgate of Mason City; two grandchildren, Tim and Emily of Mason City; Sister Carole (Appelgate) Tranthum and brother-in-law Carey Tranthum of Shellsburg, IA; sister-in-law Cathy Tichenor (Gary) and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Evelyn Appelgate (1981), father Glen Appelgate (1994) and brother Richard Appelgate (1986), his grandparents and several aunts and uncles.

Visitation will be held Friday, April 19 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Chet Ryan Mortuary, 708 Fifth St. Nevada. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday April 20, 2013 at Nevada United Methodist Church, Nevada. Memorial contributions will benefit Nevada High School graduates who plan to attend college.