Music 01

Ralph Wayne Firestone

February 28, 1935 ~ March 7, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Tribute


Ralph Wayne Firestone a beloved husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home on March 7, 2023. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Ralph valued family and faith above all else. He was a generous and loving man to all he encountered. Ralph never fell short with words and always had stories to tell to all who would listen. Ralph was born on February 28th, 1935 to Howard E. Firestone Sr. and Gertrude (Carlson) Firestone and was raised in Salem, Ohio. He was the youngest of three children and began playing saxophone at a young age. Ralph is preceded in death by his two older sisters, Beatrice and Lois.

Ralph graduated from Ohio University (Bobcats) in June 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. While pursuing this with excellence, Ralph still found time for many extra-curriculars; his most impressive being obtaining a pilot’s license. He also developed many close friendships with his Bobcat classmates, remaining in touch with many of them throughout his life. Ralph married his college sweetheart, Shirley J. (Derr) Firestone on August 17th, 1958 and enjoyed 53 wonderful years with her until her death on December 13, 2011.

After graduation, he and Shirley settled in Salem, Ohio, where they began their journey of life. Ralph entered the family business, putting his electrical engineering degree to work for his father’s electrical engineering company, while Shirley became a full-time high school teacher. Deciding to stay in Salem, Ralph and Shirley raised their family of four children. Ralph went on to purchase the company from his father, retaining the name, and became the President and Owner of Firestone Electric. He transformed the small company into a highly successful construction and engineering company and eventually earned his Professional Engineering License. Ralph took an immense amount of pride in his work, which would take him around the world on several business trips for the State Department, which included Firestone Electric being the lead electrical design-build engineers for Botswana’s and Nigeria’s Embassies in Africa. Ralph’s company also successfully completed hundreds of projects around the community and surrounding Tri-Valley Area. He had a true passion for what he did and maintained his P.E into his eighty’s. He loved to pass his vast amount of knowledge along to his children and grandchildren whenever he had the chance.

During their 53 years of marriage together, Ralph and Shirley traveled between their summer home in the 1000 Islands Canada and their winter home in Naples, Florida. Their passion for boating and being on the water was always present in their lives. Ralph’s lifelong passion for boating eventually led him to pursue his United States Coast Guard Captain License, which he put to very good use, becoming a tour boat captain and performing other captain assignments during his later years in Naples. His other water activities included becoming certified as a PADI certified SCUBA diver performing his open water dive in St. Thomas Virgin Islands with several of his very close couple friends along with Shirley.

Ralph had remained an avid musician throughout his life and was an accomplished saxophonist. He was a state finalist in High School. He played less frequently while he was President of Firestone Electric however, his passion reignited after his former Salem High School Band director mentioned he should start up again once he retired. The rest is history and he performed in many concerts throughout his life and found great joy in sharing his love for music with his friends and family. He spent the better part of retirement playing in many bands and leading several successful bands in and around the Naples/Fort Myers area. It didn’t take long for Ralph to start talking about his saxophone to all those that would listen. For anyone who knew Ralph, he was a devoted and generous family man with an amazing, big heart and an enormous zest for life. He was truly one of a kind.

After Shirley passed, Ralph went on to meet a lovely, widowed woman named, Georgene, who lived down the street from his home while casually walking his beloved dog, Lindy. Georgene had a dog named Oscar, and it was obvious that Lindy and Oscar had become friends, as did Ralph and Georgene. As time went on Ralph and Georgene would spend more and more time together and found they had much in common. After many fun filled dates, they had both realized that they had found love once more. They tied the knot on July 25, 2015, in a quaint little church atop a cliff overlooking the beautiful Saint Lawrence Seaway in the 1000 Islands. They enjoyed a wonderful eight years together and made a promise to each other to always be there for one another. They had a saying that when one bear fell down the other bear would carry them. This remained true throughout their time together, with Ralph helping Georgene early on and Georgene returning the favor later. Ralph and Georgene had a beautiful relationship and Georgene will continue their legacy.

Ralph leaves behind a legacy of faith, character, perseverance and over a million wonderful memories. We will miss him dearly, but his spirit will live forever in our hearts.

Ralph is survived by his wife of eight years, Georgene Firestone and four loving children and their spouses, Dr. Ralph W. Firestone Jr. (Gary), Mr. Christopher L. Firestone (Kitty), Mr. Howard E. Firestone II (Anne), Mrs. Heather Perritano (Mark), and 12 beautiful grandchildren: Zachary (Terissa), Devon, Emily (Cullen), Matthew (Lauren), Gregory, Michelle (Regis), Erin, Matthew, Andrew, Sarah, Natalie and Christine and three great grandchildren: Vivian, Rowan, and Finnley.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to:
Hope Hospice
9470 Healthpark Circle
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Phone: 239-482-4673

 


Services

Memorial Gathering
Saturday
March 18, 2023

1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Fuller Metz Cremation & Funeral Services
3740 Del Prado Blvd.
Cape Coral, FL 33904

Memorial Service
Saturday
March 18, 2023

2:30 PM
Fuller Metz Cremation & Funeral Services
3740 Del Prado Blvd.
Cape Coral, FL 33904

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