Cover photo for Rev. Ralph W. Hanusa's Obituary
Rev. Ralph W. Hanusa Profile Photo
1928 Rev. Ralph 2023

Rev. Ralph W. Hanusa

March 14, 1928 — September 6, 2023

Pastor Ralph W. Hanusa met his Savior on September 6, 2023. He was born on March 14, 1928, the son of August and Bertha Reich Hanusa in Middleton Wisconsin. After graduating from Middleton High School, he attended the University of Wisconsin Madison and graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly Iowa and Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque Iowa. Ralph was ordained in the Lutheran church on May 31,1953 at St Luke Lutheran Church.

Ralph married the love of his life Doris Hagen on August 21, 1949. They were blessed with four sons.

During his 40 years of full-time ministry, he served Faith Lutheran Church in Metamora Ohio; Lutheran Welfare as a part time chaplain to Lucas County Home in Toledo Ohio; First Lutheran Church in Oconto Wisconsin; Christus Lutheran Church in Clintonville; St John American Lutheran Church prior to its merger with Christus and First English Lutheran Church in Oshkosh where he served as senior pastor for 20 years. Ralph retired from the ministry in 1993. He is remembered for preaching without notes and many time reciting the gospel from memory.

During his ministry, he also was involved with the following organizations in Ohio and Wisconsin: Chairman of the Michigan District Rural Life Committee, Chairman of the All Lutheran Food Appeal, Treasurer of the Ohio Conference of the Michigan District; Chairman of the Central Conference of the former ALS; area leader of Ingathering for Higher Education; Chairman of the District Social Services Committee; Chairman of the Lutheran Council Social Service Strategy Committee; District Bible Camp Commissions; Dean of the Long Lake Bible Camp; Chairman of the Seminary Fund Appeal and area chairman for Lutheran Social Service. He also served on the Board of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan; Chairman of the former Bethel Home Board; Chairman of the Bethel Home second additional Building Committee; Lutheran Home Board; Vice Chairman of Winnebago County Housing Authority; Lutheran Campus Ministry Board; area chairman for the following appeals: Ingathering for Education, United Mission Appeal, Seminary Appeal, LSS Partners in Caring. He was a delegate to many National synod Assemblies.

During his retirement he served as Chairman of Residential Services Committee of Bethel Home, Home Bound Visitation Pastor for Peace Lutheran Church since 1994, as well as serving as Sunday morning supply pastor for area congregations.

Ralph was a member of the First English golf league for 32 years. He and Doris golfed many a 9 holes together. They also enjoyed playing pool, cribbage, 500 and Skip-bo. They travelled often to visit sons and families in Florida, Texas and Washington state.

Ralph had many loves in his life; the greatest love was for Doris, his sons and their families. His marriage to Doris is an example of a true friendship, a partnership and loving marriage of 73 years. Ralph was a great father to his boys-encouraging and supporting their interests and setting an example of hard work and strong values. Ralph started running at the age of 42, he ran in 5k & 10k races with sons Jim and Dan. He also loved telling jokes – he loved a good Ole and Sven jokes and often started his sermon with a joke. There was always ice cream in the house, during summer months, homemade ice cream was churned with the boys. Another love/passion for Ralph was his lawn. He was known to mow sometimes 3 times per week to ensure the lawn looked good and for the exercise. He loved his hamburger/roast beef with raw onions, strong coffee and of course all of the wonderful homemade baked goods Doris made.

Ralph was a generous person – whether taking calls from parishioners on his days off, spending time to help friends and with his family. He taught us by example – his wonderful marriage to Doris; how to have fun and laugh, be kind, and to love.

Preceding him in death is his wife of 73 years Doris, and his sister Adeline Herrling.

Ralph is survived by his sister Pearl Jung and four sons, Dr. James (Robin), David (Janise), Timothy (Gail), and Daniel (Janell); eleven grandchildren and spouses, eight great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

A Memorial service will be at Peace Lutheran Church, 240 W. 9th Ave on Saturday, September 23, 2023 with visitation from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and a service at 1:00 PM. Memorials may be given to the ELCA World Hunger program.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rev. Ralph W. Hanusa, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 23, 2023

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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