Ralph McQuirk, age 62, of Philip, South Dakota, died on Monday, December 24, 2018 in the Emergency Room at Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.
Ralph McQuirk was born on March 18, 1956 in Sturgis, South Dakota to Edward and Carol (Bachman) McQuirk. He grew up in Faith, South Dakota and helped work the family businesses for a number of years.
Ralph delivered gas and diesel to a large rural area when his family ran the Mobile bulk plant. Ed’s Ranch Supply also kept him busy as a youngster as he unloaded many semi loads of feed one bag at a time. Ralph always said that is where he got his muscles from. After graduating high school he worked on a bridge crew that built bridges in the Black Hills. Later he became employed by O’Connell Construction as a heavy equipment operator for several years until the sudden death of his father. Ralph then moved back to Faith to help his mother and two young sisters operate the gas business and feed store.
On September 2, 1977 he was united in marriage to Julie Slovek. They made their home in Faith until his mother sold the feed store which at that time Ralph and his family moved to Mitchell, South Dakota so he could get an education in welding. After completing his education he pursued a career in the coal mines of Wyoming, but while waiting to hear back from his pending job applications he was injured on a motorcycle and was not able to take the job he had been waiting for.
Eventually Ralph was able to use his skills as a welder by starting D&R Trailer Parts along with a partner Don Anderson. He continued to repair and build all kinds of trailers but mainly horse trailers. In 1987 he purchased Ingram’s Ditching and turned it into McQuirk Ditching.
With hard work and long days Ralph established a well-known excavation and underground utility business. July 2017 was the 30 year anniversary of the business. After graduating college in 2009 Ralph’s son Elliot joined him full-time. They made several of the things they needed to do their jobs like reel trailers and adapters for their equipment. Ralph believed in doing as much as he could himself such as all the mechanical work on the equipment and even repaired fellow ditcher’s equipment for them.
Ralph enjoyed playing poker with his buddies, going on fishing trips to Canada, going to Deadwood, Las Vegas and not Laughlin, Nevada. He also enjoyed going to country music concerts such as the time he went to Garth Brooks which was a highlight he talked about for months afterwards.
Ralph was known for doing good work and for his honesty.
Survivors include his wife Julie of Philip; one son Elliot (Tracy Enders) McQuirk of Philip; a brother Phil (Peggy) McQuirk of Vale; two sisters Genevieve "Genny" McQuirk of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Nella (Donnie) Love of Amarillo, Texas; special family friend Jennifer Elshere Kennedy of Las Vegas, NV; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Ralph was preceded in death by their daughter Alicia on July 1, 2014, and his parents Ed and Carol McQuirk.
A visitation was held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, December 28, at Rush Funeral Home in Philip.
Funeral services was held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 29, at the Philip High School Fine Arts Building.
Interment was at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
Cards and memorials may be sent to P.O. Box 582, Philip, SD 57567.
Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.