Cover photo for Ralph J. Fries's Obituary
Ralph J. Fries Profile Photo
1930 Ralph J. Fries 2023

Ralph J. Fries

October 21, 1930 — December 22, 2023

Elk Grove Village

Ralph Fries, Sr., an original Elk Grove resident who lived in the same house for 60 years, died peacefully with his ever vigilant, loving and caring son, Tom, holding his hand on December 22nd at the age of 93. Born in Chicago, on October 21, 1930 to Martha and Herman Fries, Ralph grew up behind and attended Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church. He met the love of his life, Barbara, when attending a singles club Halloween party through the church. Ralph’s Arthur Murray dance lessons paid off as he fox trotted his way into Barbara’s heart. Ralph and Barbara married at Our Lady of Grace Church on June 4, 1960. They were the first ones on the dance floor at weddings and soon the longest on the dance floor when the “how many years you’ve been married” contest was played. They were married for 63 years. 

Ralph worked for Wicklander Printing Corporation as a lithographer for 40 years and retired in 1994.  He and Barbara had 5 children: Cheryl (Joe) Stayman, Laura (Scott) MacIntyre, Ralph Jr. (Denise), Michele (Jurgen) Heuving, and Thomas (Cortney); 7 grandchildren: Megan, Elizabeth, Brianna, Sarah, Luke, Fiona and Hope; and 3 great grandchildren: Adeline, Theodore and Henry. Ralph was preceded in death by his brother Daniel and sister Virginia.  

Ralph and Barbara were active members of Queen of the Rosary Parish since they moved to Elk Grove. They sent all their children to QR for elementary school. Ralph was a regular on the scene at church, serving as a Eucharistic Minister, greeter and sacristan. Ralph was a very faithful man, the family’s “go to” when someone needed prayers. We always felt he had a direct line to our Blessed Mother. Ralph said many rosaries a day and would spend hours praying. The blessings he obtained for his family and friends were definitely felt and appreciated. Ralph attended daily mass, and when he couldn’t because of his failing health, would watch mass on TV. 

Ralph liked to garden and took pride in making a lovely and comfortable home. He bonded with his granddaughter Sara over starting a flower garden at her new home. Squirrels were a nuisance that he battled for years. He fed the birds until he couldn’t walk to the backyard anymore. Ralph was active, even cutting trees with his son-in-law and a chainsaw when he was 80. He liked to share slides, old photos and stories with family members. He loved Barb’s cooking and was the main dishwasher after big family dinners. When most would retire to the living room, Ralph could be found in the kitchen doing the dishes. He was always happy to have an extra pair of hands to dry, but he was sure to be running the operation. He was a quiet acts of service kind of guy.  

Ralph was a Korean War veteran and child of the Depression era, so nothing ever went to waste. Scrap metal could be found in the yard with tomato plants hanging from it. He framed finished puzzles and filled every room of the house and wall in the garage with them. He cared immensely for his mother and would visit her every Saturday to mow the lawn, buy groceries and eat hamburgers. He loved to watch movies, eat popcorn, peanut butter and ice cream. Ralph enjoyed baking cookies with his daughter Laura and would eat all the mistakes with a smile. He wasn’t much of a Chicago sports fan - they always made his blood pressure rise! One of his favorite Christmas gifts was a Red Ryder Air Rifle that Ralph Jr. gave him, like from A Christmas Story movie. Ralph Sr. was so excited as he aimed that rifle just like a child. But he never used it on the squirrels for fear of retribution from the village.  

The family would like to give a special thanks to the doctors, nurses and therapists at Alexian Brothers Hospital ER and ICU and Hospice House for taking such awesome care of Ralph. Ralph called all the shots and was ready to see his Lord. We hope he enjoyed a mincemeat pie when he got there.  

Visitation Wednesday, December 27th from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Thursday, December 28th 8:00 a.m. until time of funeral, 9:30 a.m. at The Oaks Funeral Home, 1201 E. Irving Park Rd (At Prospect), Itasca to Queen of the Rosary Church 750 W. Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove Village for a Mass of Christian Burial, 10:00 a.m. Family and friends will meet Friday, December 29th, 9:30 a.m. at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, 20953 W Hoff Rd, Elwood for burial with military honors. For funeral information: 630-250-8588 or 

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

8:00 - 9:30 am (Central time)

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Queen of the Rosary Catholic Church

750 W Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

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Friday, December 29, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

20953 W Hoff Rd, Elwood, IL 60421

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