Weldon Ralph Boone, 91, of Clinton, Ark., passed away peacefully to be with the Lord on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. He was born Aug. 18, 1921, at Bee Branch, Ark., to the late James Robert and Nellie (Stark) Boone.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, two sisters and a grandson, Jason Bradley Boone.

He is survived by his wife and best friend of 66 years, Marie Moore Boone; three children, Danny and Cathy Boone of Clinton, Steve and Diana Boone of Conway, and Tim and Fran Boone of Maumelle; five grandchildren, Julie (Will) Lindsay, Jenny (Todd) Treece, Katie (Brian) Pipkin, Clint Boone, and Molly Boone; four great-grandchildren, Nate and Rhett Lindsay, Hadley Jo Treece, and Margot Pipkin; and many more family members and friends.

A veteran of World War II, Ralph was part of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.” Mr. Brokaw has said that, “These men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. When they came back from the war, they rebuilt America into a superpower.” Ralph recalled the beauty of the foreign countrysides he saw across the ocean, but as with many other veterans, he preferred not to talk about his difficult times in the service or the sacrifices he made. He witnessed things that he repeatedly told he “Hoped you would never have to see.” He described crossing the English Channel on June 6, 1944, “The sky was black there were so many planes overhead and the water became stained red.” He spoke about the destruction, devastation and heartache he witnessed. He would rarely talk about his own close calls or the sorrow of friends lost, although there were many. These thoughts, I can only imagine, were too painful for him to relive.

Ralph left behind a legacy of quiet strength and honor. He was a very humble man and would have never considered himself a hero for his service, but he was very much a hero to his family. And while we will always be extremely proud of his participation in the war as he fought for our freedom, his time in the service was only a small part of all that defined him. He was the patriarch of a loving home and family; a man that focused his life on a strong foundation of love for family, his deep faith in God, and an appreciation for hard work. For many years he successfully owned and operated a service station, a cattle operation, and a poultry farm. He loved to stay outside and always worked hard to provide for his family. The strength of his legacy was rooted in his devotion to his family, and the life that he lived will continue to provide a light to his sons and to his grandchildren and to those who come behind.

Following his memorial service on a beautiful snowy day, he was lovingly laid to rest beside his grandson, Jason Bradley Boone, at Bradley cemetery, which overlooks his farm and homeplace.

There are no words to express our family’s deep gratitude for the prayers and love from the many friends and caretakers who brought honor, dignity, strength, comfort and compassion to him and to us during this difficult time.