MONROE DODGE FOUNDER, LONG TIME ARCA SPONSOR RALPH MAHALAK SR. DIES

Ralph Earl Mahalak died June 6, 2017 peacefully surrounded by his loving family at St. Francis Hos-pital in Greenville, South Carolina at the age of 77.

Ralph is a long time supporter of ARCA sanctioned racing at Flat Rock and Toledo Speedway, and on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Monroe Dodge’s support over the years has in-cluded providing pace cars for both tracks and ARCA, and currently Monroe Dodge Superstore is an official sponsor of the ARCA Safety Initiative, as the exclusive provider of the ARCA Safety Chase Vehicle.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jane; five children, Ralph (Joan) of Monroe, Mike (Janine) of Winterhaven Fla, JP (Joanie) of Monroe, Monica (Mike Hovart) of Greenville SC ,and Alex (Krista) of Winterhaven Fla 13 grandchildren, and sister Betty Mahalak of Wyandotte, MI. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents Ralph & Eva (Liptow), and sisters Eleanor Groat and Charlene Mallow.

Born February 14, 1940 in Wyandotte, A Gradu-ate of St. Patrick’s High School, he married his elementary school sweetheart Jane Navarre on October 29th, 1960 in Wyandotte. He was the founder of Monroe Dodge on Front St in 1966 and founder of Dodge of Winter Haven Florida in 1991. The couple resided in Monroe, MI in 1966 raising their five children teaching them about the auto industry and incorporating those lessons into the successful family business it is today. Ralph & Jane semi-retired to Lighthouse Point, FL in 1985 enjoying Southern Florida living before re-cently moving to Greenville, SC to be close to their daughter Monica and her family.

Ralph “Senior” was loved by all who knew him and well respected in the auto industry. His children remember him as a kind, generous, driven father who encouraged them to pursue their goals. He was a loyal person, gruff at times, very witty, and a dedicated individual who loved his family and was especially passionate about supporting his children and grandchildren’s education. He was also an active and dedicated member of St. John’s Parish a former member at Monroe Golf and Country Club and other clubs. He was also a Former Chair of the Monroe Auto Dealers Association, director of Michigan Auto Deal-ers Association and a member of National Auto Dealer Association and 20 Group member. Ralph generously donated his resources to countless charities and organizations throughout his life.

He especially enjoyed boating, fishing, and ARCA and NASCAR stock car racing, but most im-portantly spending time with his wife, family, friends and his dog Samantha. Although Ralph became an extremely successful business man he never forgot where he came from, always humble and thankful for the many things he had achieved.

A funeral viewing is scheduled for Monday, June 12 2017 at Rupp Funeral Home 2345 South Custer Road Monroe, MI from 12-2pm and 4-8pm. A liturgy will be led by Deacon Mike at 5 O'clock.

A mass celebrating his life will begin at 11:00 AM Tuesday June 12 at St..John the Baptist Catholic Church. He will Lie in state from 10am -11:00 Fathers Terry Kerner and Jim Smolarz will concele-brate the ceremony with a reception to follow at Monroe Golf & Country Club. All are welcome to at-tend and celebrate Ralph’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Monroe County Commu-nity Foundation at 28 S. Macomb St. Monroe, MI 48161. The family would like to thank the caregiv-ers and hospital staff at St. Francis in Greenville, SC for their efforts, care, and dedication.

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