Ralph L. Falls, 78, of Ironton, Ohio passed away Monday, March 15, 2010, at Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland, Ky. He was born Feb. 7, 1932 in Coryville, the son of the late William Emory and Mildred Lucille Wade Falls.
He was a 1950 graduate of Ironton High School and then went on to Marshall University, where he received a master’s degree in music education. Mr. Falls was a contracting musician with several dance bands over the years and free lanced for several well-known events and celebrities, such as Bob Hope and Michael Landon. He was the choir director at Central Christian Church and then at First United Methodist Church in Ironton for many years. He was a retired teacher and band director for the Ironton City Schools, where he worked from 1954-1986. Mr. Falls was the driving force as the Ironton Tiger Million Dollar Marching Band expanded to 162 members strong. During his tenure the band was invited to numerous professional football halftime events, parades, contests, and bowl games throughout the country. He believed that he had a responsibility to the community to choose wisely because the funds taken from the individuals and businesses away from the community could have negative effects overall. Some of the events attended were The Lions Club International Parade on the boardwalk at Atlantic City, The World’s Fair at Knoxville, Tenn., by special invitation- played for President Ford in an event in Columbus, and the nationally televised Cleveland Browns football game as the feature band in Cleveland. The band was also honored to play for Presidential candidate, George H. W. Bush, during a campaign event held in the auditorium at Ironton High. He was an adjudicator for the Ohio Music Associations State Band and Chorus Competitions and traveled to many districts throughout the state in that position. He was also the host director for the district AMA competition and the Ironton High School Band received Superior ratings 10 consecutive years.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, William Randolph Falls; paternal grandparents: William Patrick (Billy) and Helena Dilly Falls; maternal grandparents, Henry Clay Wade and Dora Mae Chapman Wade Rinderle; three aunts, Cleo Anna Mary Falls Jacob, Ruth Alberta Falls Brown, and Helena Gertrude Falls Harju; three uncles, Leanard R., Walter A., and John Homer Falls; and two beloved great aunts, Annie Chapman and Bessie Ferguson.
He is survived by his loving wife, Kay Frances Saunders Falls of Ironton, whom he married June 26, 1960; two sons, Ralph Leon, Jr. and his wife, Theresa Burtucci Falls of Mt. Prospect, Ill. and Timothy Alan Falls of Ironton; two grandsons, Timothy Jacob Falls of Ironton and Rocco Leon Falls of Mt. Prospect; two granddaughters, Angelina Rose and Victoria Grace Falls of Mt. Prospect; brother-in-law and his wife, Charles E. and Barbara Ann Ortner Saunders of Hampton Cove, Ala.; another sister-in-law, Beatrice Bradshaw Falls of Foley, Ala.; four nieces, Lynda Anne Falls (Steve) Lind of Brownsburg, Ind., Jo Elizabeth Falls Lewis of Foley, Allyson Kay Saunders (Dave) Sperry, and Angela Jo Saunders (Dave) Chester; three nephews, William Randolph Falls, Jr. of Foley, Charles Kyle (Holly) Saunders of Ooletewak, Tenn. and Mark Eric (Cheryl) Saunders of Hampton Cove, Ala.; and several cousins.
A funeral service will be 1 p.m. Thursday at The Tracy Brammer Funeral Home in Ironton, with Pastor Paul Cocklin officiating. Interment will follow at Woodland Cemetery. A visitation will be 6-9 p.m. Wednesday evening.