|JAMES RALPH STILTNER, SR.
It is with a sad but rejoiced heart that I will try to write the obituary of my uncle and brother is Christ.
Ralph was born on May 31, 1931 and departed this life on June 17, 2004, making his stay on this earth 73
years and 17 days. One son, Gregory Dean Stiltner, preceded him in death on January 20, 1998. He was
also preceded in death by his parents, D.C. and Chloe Stiltner, 4 brothers and 2 sisters. He is survived by his
wife, Stella Thacker Stiltner, and 3 children: one daughter, Mrs. Radford (Joyce) Rice of R. 2, Grundy, Virginia
and two sons, James (Pete) Stiltner of Rt. 2, Grundy, Virginia, and Jerry and wife, Theda Stiltner, of Dickson,
Besides his wife and children, Ralph leaves behind to mourn his passing, 9 grandchildren and 11 great
grandchildren. He is also survived by 4 brothers, Fred Stiltner of Grundy, Virginia, Jack and Lawrence Stiltner,
both of Dickinson, Tennessee, and Leonard Stiltner of Gray, Tennessee; and 6 sisters, Leon Spahr, Alice
Yates and Julie Poland of Rt. 2, Grundy, Virginia, Lucy Dudley and Brenda Crawford, both of Dickson,
Tennessee, and Rachel Clark of Clauson, Michigan; and a host of family and friends.
Ralph and Stella were married on June 22, 1950 and walked together 54 years, raising their children with as
much love as they had for each other. Seven years ago on June 21, 1997, they started another walk together
that would last an eternity when they repented of their sins. God saved their souls and they became not only
husband and wife, but also brother and sister. They were baptized together and became members of
Bethlehem Old Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ.
Ralph served his country as a Marine during the Korean conflict. He wore the uniform proudly, but when he
put on the uniform in God’s army, it gave him a new look of joy and peace. It caused him to have love for
everyone. We will miss him and our heart will be sad, but they will also be rejoicing to know he is resting in the
paradise of God with his son and mom and dad and his struggles here are now over. I know if Ralph could
send a message back to his family and friends he left behind, it would be, “please love one another, serve God
and come visit me in my brand new home.”
We are saying good-by, but sleep on brother in your rest and by the Grace of our Dear Savior we will meet
you again where no good-byes are spoken and no tears of sorrow ever dim the eye, but all is joy, joy forever.
Written for the family, by his niece, Gail Humbert.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free;
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call;
I turned my back and left it all
I could not stay another day, to laugh,
To love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ay yes, these things, I too, will miss.
But not burdened with times of sorrow;
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much;
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.