November 10, 1943 — March 23, 2024 (age 80)

Ralph O. Matkin, 80, left his earth life on the morning of Mar. 23. A gentle good man with a forgiving heart, who loved and cared about everyone he met. Ralph will be missed by all who knew him.

Born on Nov. 10, 1943, in Malad, Idaho, to George and Ruth Matkin, Ralph spent his growing-up years seeing much of the west. His father’s work took the family to Kemmerer, Wyoming; Nephi, Utah; and then Anchorage, Alaska, where Ralph spent his adolescent years and acquired his great love of the outdoors. A highlight was the trip he took at 13, when he and his older brother Reuel made their way from Anchorage to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for the national Boy Scout Jamboree – a month-long adventure that even outweighed the 70-pound king salmon he hooked and landed on the Anchor River. After Alaska, the family lived in Logan, Utah, followed by Scottsdale, Arizona, where Ralph graduated from Scottsdale High School.

Before and after spending two years as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ralph attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, working as a bus driver and a ski patrolman to pay for his bachelor’s degree in education. After college, he ran a motorcycle shop in Globe, Arizona, before accepting a teaching position at Shadow Mountain High School in north Phoenix. There, at the same high school in the same classroom, he taught earth science and geology to ninth and tenth graders for 28 consecutive years. His passion for the earth wasn’t confined only to school days. He led students on Saturday hikes for years, and as a Scoutmaster, loved to take his Scouts on long adventures, especially to Havasupai Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He also taught driver training, and lived to tell about it.

He was good with his hands, could fix anything, and could name every constellation in the night sky.

In retirement, Ralph and his wife, Bonnie, moved to Park City. He volunteered as a mountain host at Park City Mountain Resort, did some occasional substitute teaching, and until health issues entered the picture – he survived bladder cancer and, after that, hydrocephalus – indulged his loves of hiking, skiing and biking, both road and mountain.

A faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, Ralph brought the fervor he felt as a full time missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission to the rest of his life. He served diligently in every church calling he was assigned. From 2013-2014, he and Bonnie served as senior missionaries, providing member support in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. For the last several years, Ralph was a weekly fixture at the Salt Lake and Jordan River LDS temples.

Ralph is survived by his wife Bonnie, his sons Jared, Shawn and Darin; Bonnie’s seven children, Scott, Kelli, Kristi, Kathi, Derek, Kerri and Guy, and 38 combined grandchildren and 60 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Reuel and Ronald and sisters Jeanne and Carol.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Mar. 30 at 10 a.m. at the Park City Trailside Chapel, 510 Silver Summit Parkway, Park City, with a reception preceding the service from 9 to 9:45 a.m.

Burial will be at the Cambridge cemetery in Downey, Idaho. 

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