The patriarch of the Burge family, Ralph David Burge, Sr., of Auburn, died Oct. 1, 2006. He was born August 22, 1917 in New Idria Mines, a quicksilver mining company town in San Benito County, to Robert Davis Burge and Tillie Nunez Burge.
He was known as Grandpa Burge, the archetypal grandpa that kids dream about. He was fun to be around and had a flare for the dramatic. He was a teller of tall tales, a jokester, a singer, a sage, and a master of gestures and facial expressions that provoked laughter. He was silly without being ridiculous and had a great sense of humor.
He was a good man who loved his wife Katherine very much, and dealt honestly with others in his business and private life.
His effortless perseverance to life’s setbacks was a lesson to all, showing how to remain in tune with what is essential in life, regardless of the circumstances. From his interactions with others, he taught how to be faithful, and how to be comfortable anywhere and with everyone. He valued family above all, and his home was a place of warmth and love.
Following a childhood in New Idria Mines, he moved to Hollister and graduated from Hollister High School. He worked as a bellboy at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, where he met Katherine Rozolis, the love of his life. They were married in 1939 and enjoyed 50 years of wedded bliss before her death in 1989.
He served in the United States Army for two years and was a butcher for 40 years. He owned and operated the Sparkle Meat Market and Iceburg Freezer in Gilroy for many years.
In Gilroy, he was a member of the Elks Club, Rotary Club, and the American Legion. In his spare time he loved to fish and follow the 49ers, the Giants, the A’s, and the Kings.
Survivors include his sons; Peter Burge (Leona) of Gilroy; Robert Burge (Krisanne) of Auburn; Ralph Burge, Jr. (Lacey) of Auburn; a brother John Graham of Seaside; grandchildren Therese Burge and Cassie Tellez of Gilroy; Matthew Burge of San Jose; Eric Burge of LaVerne; David Burge of Rocklin; Jason Burge of Courbevoie, France; Seth McCadam of Hood River Oregon; Kendra Cannoy of Santa Ana; Daniel Burge of Hollister; Casey Burge and Camille Burge of Auburn, and 12 great-grandchildren.
A memorial mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Gilroy at 11:30 am, Saturday, Oct. 14, following a private family interment. A celebration of life will be held immediately following the mass at the Veterans Hall, 74 W. Sixth Street in Gilroy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.