Reverend Ralph Austin Totten, 89, of Woodlawn, Illinois passed away Friday, June 5, 2020 at GreenTree in Mount Vernon. He was born December 2, 1930 in Flora, Illinois, the son of the late Kenneth Austin Totten and the late Faith Alvena (Bateman) Totten. Ralph grew up in Olney, Illinois and married Jennie Lynn (Stein) Totten, daughter of Lynn Rude Stein and Ruth Lorene (Veatch) Stein in Carmi on August 5, 1951.
Ralph served as a United Methodist pastor for 43 years. Prior to ordination, his charges included Wanda and Beaver Creek, Capron/Blaine and Durand. After being ordained an elder in the Southern Illinois United Methodist Church, his charges included Marissa and Zion, Mounds, Nashville Grace, Edwardsville Immanuel, and Granite City Niedringhaus. He was an active member of the United Methodist camping program in Southern Illinois, helped to build several of the buildings at Little Grassy Camp near Makanda, hosted retreats, and enjoyed leading youth groups as well as adult couples in week-long canoe trips on rivers in the Ozarks.
After retirement, he served as Pastor of Visitation and interim pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Olney, and interim pastor at United Methodist churches in Centralia, Dalhgren, Kinmundy, Marion, and Herrin.
Ralph received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from McKendree University, a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from McKendree University. Over the years, McKendree has held a special place in his heart; it is there that he met, fell in love and formed a lifetime bond with Jennie Lynn.
In spite of their busy lifestyle working in the church and raising a family of four children, Ralph and Jennie Lynn always found time to offer their services to their alma mater. In 1982, Ralph became a member of McKendree’s Board of Trustees, a role he would maintain for the next thirty-three years. Through his service on the executive committee and countless others, Ralph played a pivotal part in shaping McKendree’s future.
In addition to his beloved wife of 68 years, Ralph is survived by his brother, Samuel N. Totten (Marilyn) of Mount Vernon; sister-in-law, Anna May McArthy (Keith) of Enfield; daughters, Ev Totten of Arlington, Virginia and Gwen Stanford of Woodlawn; son, Doug Totten (Paula) of Woodlawn; daughter-in-law, Janice Ingham Totten of Roscoe, Illinois; grandchildren, Mandy Stanford Tyndall (Bob) of Rankin, Texas; Jeremy Stanford (Dana) of Zanesville, Ohio; Chris Stanford (Amy) of Madison, Wisconsin; Corey Jordan (Bill) of Omaha, Nebraska; Cellie Robinson (Terry) of Arnold, Missouri; Josh Totten of Phoenix, Arizona; and Jamie Totten of Phoenix, Arizona; 32 great grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren; and his kitty, Boots.
Ralph was preceded in death by his sister, Coruna Ruth Totten, and his son, Ralph Gregory “Greg” Totten.
A private graveside service will be held at Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens in Woodlawn, Illinois. Memorials may be made in Ralph’s honor to McKendree University or the Preachers' Aid Society and Benefit Fund.
Call Hughey Funeral Home at 618-242-3348 or visit hugheyfh.com for further information.