Written History of Ralph Emanuel Whitney


Bert and Keith Whitney

He was fair with everyone, and I never detected any partiality toward any member of the family.  I remember one time when I was getting the worst of a quarrel with my older brothers, Dad was apparently watching out the window and came out and put his arm around my shoulders and talked to me about the situation.  He said nothing to the other boys, but them seeing him giving me support was lesson enough.

Another thing I always appreciated about Dad was the respectful way he treated our friends when they came to visit.  He always made them feel relaxed and at home.  Dad had a good sense of humor with a keen dry wit, and had a lot of improbable stories he told.  He got a twinkle in his eye when he was about to do or say something clever.

Dad had a great respect and love for Mom; he trusted her to do anything she felt like she could do, and he was supportive of her.  One of his favorite compliments to her about her cooking, was about getting the shotgun ready when she was about to take the rolls out of the oven.  (So he could shoot them down when they floated to the ceiling.)  He especially liked to make that comment when we had company for dinner.

The things Dad did and said and the close relationship he had with Mom gave me a secure feeling, even though as a family, we were generally short on material things. Dad’s honesty was a legend; he always went out of his way to be fair in his business dealings and with friends.

I feel blessed to have had such a good example for me to try to follow in my life.


Lorraine Nelson:

As I reflect back on my father’s life the words that describe him best are kind, loving, honest, hard working, caring.

My father was always kind to me.  I cannot ever remember him spanking me and I know that I was no angel.  My best memories of him are when we lived on the ranch in Paradise Valley. I  loved to go with him and help him when he worked in the garden.  He raised all kinds of melons and vegetables that you wouldn’t think would grow in that dry desert.  He would let me ride our horse “Brownie” while he cultivated.

My dad and mom were always close to their children.  They participated in all kinds of games we played.  Dad would always help us with our homework.   I had a hard time with thought problems in arithmetic.  He would explain the problem so I could understand it and help me figure it out.

Lorraine Whitney Nelson

My dad and mom took us on many trips to Lake Mead, Mt. Charleston and other places.  The trip I remember the most was when I was 13 or 14 years old.  We packed up and went like the pioneers to the Black Mountains out behind our ranch.  We took the wagon and team of horses and spent 2 or 3 days out there.  Our parents were such fun.  They got down to our level and made life enjoyable.

Whenever my dad wanted to surprise my mom with a gift, he would have me pick it out for her.  One year he wanted to buy her a coat for Christmas.  I went with him to pick it out and she really liked it.  My mom and I liked the same things.  For their 25th wedding anniversary he wanted to get her the diamond engagement ring he had never been able to get.  (He had the money to buy her one when they became engaged, but because of her father’s untimely death in August 1920, he gave the money to her mother.)  He had me pick out a ring she would like, and she treasured it until the day she died.  I have the ring in my possession and I do treasure the memory.

My twin sister Laverne and I finished high school in January 1945 and moved into town as we were both working.  I worked for Bank of Nevada on 1st and Fremont as a bookkeeper, and she worked at Ronzone’ s Department Store on Fremont as a bookkeeper. We stayed with our cousin, Relda Leavitt.  We then moved to a rooming house in back of Earl’s and rented a room.  We then rented an apartment on 4th St. just 1/2 block off of Fremont St.  Laverne got married 11-1-45, and I moved back home to the ranch.  I rode the school bus to town each morning, and my dear sweet Daddy waited for me every night to get off work to ride home.  He worked for the State Highway Department and was off at 4:00 p.m.  We had to run our ledgers and balance before we left the bank and sometimes I didn’t get away until 5:30 or 6:30 p.m.  My darling dad never once complained about having to wait so long.  He was always happy and cheerful.  My dad sang to us a lot and taught us many songs.  He had a really nice voice.   The song I liked to best was “The Preacher and the Bear.”


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