Dr. Ralph Whaley

Dr. Ralph Whaley, 89, Barron, Wis., passed away Saturday, March 14, 2020, at Monroe Manor, Barron.

He was born Aug. 14, 1930, at 301 Randall Avenue, Janesville. He was the second child of Ralph and Mildred Whaley. His siblings include Ruth, Ernest and Marilyn. Ralph graduated from Blackhawk Grade School and Janesville High School. He completed premed and medical school at the University of Wisconsin in 1955, and then interned for one year at Emanuel Hospital, Portland, Ore.

Ralph had a lifelong interest in aviation that began when at the age of nine, he was given a ride in a biplane by a traveling barnstormer. In 1956, he joined the United States Air Force, completed training as a flight surgeon and was stationed at Chambley Air Force Base in France. While stationed in France, he flew back and forth between France and Northern Africa.

Ralph married Jane Piehl, daughter of Gunard and Frances Piehl of Delavan, Wis., in September of 1953. Jane accompanied Ralph to France and they traveled extensively throughout Europe.

After completing his two years of active duty, Ralph and Jane returned to civilian life and settled in Barron. Ralph joined Dr. James Strang and Dr. Dave MacMillan in the general practice of medicine. For 33 years, Ralph treated patients from infancy to middle and old age. He especially enjoyed delivering babies and working with children. He was well liked by his patients.

Ralph took a thoughtful, systematic, precise approach to everything he pursued, from the continuing study of medicine to horticulture to philosophy. After he quit medicine, he worked hard to keep his mind and body active, taking daily walks, swimming in Silver Lake, reading prolifically, even reviewing his college calculus.

In 1990, he heard National Public Radio’s rebroadcast of Ayn Rand’s speech given at the Ford Hall Forum entitled, “On Living Death” in response to the Papal Encyclical De Human Vitae. After hearing this speech, Ralph chose to devote a substantial part of his life to promoting Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

Ralph quit the practice of medicine in 1991 in protest against the government’s progressively expanding, intrusive, destructive and arbitrary regulation of the practice of medicine.

Ralph also enjoyed traveling and dining at fine restaurants with Jane. They visited places including Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Miami, London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, India, Morocco, Japan, China and South America to name a few. He enjoyed skiing, swimming and playing tennis. In later life, he continued to enjoy his cabin at Silver Lake at all times of the year.

In the last years of his life, he was a full-time caretaker for his wife. After her passing, he was a resident of Monroe Manor, whose staff was kind and supportive.

Surviving are children Kay Rafner (David) of Richmond, Va., and Carl of Minneapolis, Minn.; and grandchildren Laura Rafner of Richmond and Janet Rafner of Aarhus, Denmark.

Ralph was preceded in death by his wife.

Services will be held at a later date.

Rausch and Steel Funeral Home, Barron, is handling arrangements. Online condolences can be made at rauschandsteelfuneralhome.com.