1SG Ralph Edwards Poe, United States Army, Retired, of Bluefield, West Virginia and formally Jefferson, North Carolina transitioned this life in the presence of his wife and children on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at West Virginia University J. W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.V.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 12 p.m. at Boone Family Funeral Home with the Rev. James Reed officiating. Burial will follow in the Ashelawn Memorial Gardens with military rites. Mr. Poe will lie in state on Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Boone Family Funeral Home. Live stream for the service will be held thru zoom.com, join meeting, 304-327-9952.
Ralph, the “baby” of his family, was born on October 2, 1945 in Ash County, NC to the parentage of the late Dewey and Leeula Spicer Poe. He and his eleven other siblings lived a very blissful, joyful life along with their many cousins and extended family members (The Poe’s, The Spicer’s, The Maxwell’s The English’s and The Porters.) They were an inseparable group of family members and spent much of their time between Gary, WV and Jefferson, NC. Ralph’s was raised in Jefferson, NC and graduated from Bristol High School in West Jefferson, NC. He attended Wilkes Community College where he received an Associate Degree in Applied Science (Business Administration). Ralph worked in Ashe County at United Chemi-Con (formally Sprague Electric), Supervisor at Gates Rubber Company, and Cardinal Stone Quarries for a number of years.
Ralph’s devotion to his country was unwavering. He served six years in the United States Army, having been drafted during the Vietnam Era on January 6, 1966 and served through January 5, 1972, which also included a tour of duty in Europe. For thirty years, he served in the North Carolina National Guard with deployments to Operation Desert Storm (1990-199) and Operation Iraq Freedom (2004-2005.) In total, Ralph served his country with distinction for thirty-six years, retiring with honors in 2005.
During his time in the military, he held numerous positions of leadership including, but not limited to: Team Leader, Squad leader, Platoon Leader, and Company Sergeant. Ralph’s steadfast commitment to any task given to him lead to an impeccable career in the military. He served with distinction and received many commendations and medals that included: Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Humanitarian Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, North Carolina Commendation Medal, North Carolina State Active Duty Ribbon, North Carolina Service Ribbon, North Carolina Governors Unit Citation. Ralph’s service and duty to his country continued long after his retirement. He regularly mentored young men and women, encouraging them to consider having a career in the military, and/or going to college for a degree in business administration.
Ralph’s service to mankind and his community was steadfast. Having accepted Christ at an early age, he was a lifelong member and trustee of his beloved St. John Baptist Church in Jefferson, NC and a Associate Member of John Stewart United Methodist Church, in Bluefield, WV. He is a Life Member of VFW, DAV American Legion, Committee Member for (ESGR) Employee Support Guard and Reserve, the County Committee Farm Service Advocate Association, a Committee Member of AMVETS, and a Life Member of the Buffalo Soldiers.
In his social time, Ralph enjoyed traveling, and could be seen regularly, with his coffee crew at the McDonald’s on Bluefield Avenue. His passion for shopping and “catching the sales” at the local Lowe’s, Ollie’s, Sam’s Club, Food City, Harbor Freight, Walmart, Grant’s, Tractor Supply and all Flea Markets was enduring to the employees who worked there as well as anyone who knew him. Ralph never met a stranger, and his jovial personality made everyone feel as if they were lifelong friends.
Ralph took great pride in his family. He never missed a family reunion. His love for his family, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren was immeasurable. He often invited them to his home in Bluefield and was known for his impromptu fish fries and family gatherings.
In addition to his parents, he was proceeded in death by ten of his siblings, brothers, Russell, Howard, Leonard, Willard, Robert (Bob) Poe, and sisters, Alberta (Polly) Poe Hatcher, Reba Poe Hardin, Neil Poe Howe, Mary Poe Peal, and Ann Poe Mishner.
Those he leaves behind to cherish his memory are his wife, Josephine White Poe of Bluefield, WV; his lone surviving sibling, Luther (Judythe) Poe of Willow Grove, PA; daughters, Melinda Poe of Charlotte, NC, Lisa Poe Bryan of Sparta, NC; sons, Craig (Onnie) Poe of Hephzibah, GA, James (Sadie) Murray of Gainesville, VA, and Jonathan (Heather) Murray of Proctorville, OH. His grandchildren, Rachelle (Eric) Bryan, Jessica (O’Bryant) De’Brue, Jordan (Jasmine) Poe, Autumn Poe, Craig Poe, Jr., Brayden Poe, Jada Murray, Kiyan Paige, Olivia Paige, and Amelia Paige. His great-grandchildren, O’Bryant De’Neil De’Brue, Jr., Journei De’Brue and Jordan Alexander Poe Jr., His special friends, Roger, Dave, Malcolm, Arthur, Ronnie, Charles, Will, Jim, and “The Clock Man,” as well as a host of other relatives, and friends.
The family respectfully request no food please.
Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to Ashe County VFW, 446 Ashe Park Rd, Jefferson, NC 28640.
Please wear face mask and social distance.