Ralph Yelton, age 88, graduated from his earthly home to his heavenly home, Sunday, February 8, 2015 at the Veterans Administration Hospital. He was born July 17, 1926 in Mitchell County, North Carolina to the late James Monroe Yelton, Sr. and Mae Hill Yelton. In 1954, he moved to Tennessee and resided in the Kingsport area until he became a resident of the VA Nursing Facility in 2012. In addition to his parents, his brother, James Yelton, his grandson, Christian Kasper, and his son-in-law, Gunter Kasper preceded him in death. His daughter Sylvia Kasper, his son, Charles Yelton, and his grandchildren survive him. Other survivors include sisters Virginia Randolph, Mildred Yelton, Doris Whitson, and brother Roy and wife Pat Yelton. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the US Army to fight in World War II. He served in the European Theatre where he earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Silver Star. Ralph returned home after the war to work at Great Lake Steel in Detroit. He was re-called to the Army during the Korean Conflict. In 1951, Ralph was hit in the spine by a fifty-caliber machine gun a few days before he was to be discharged. The medical team told him he would be fortunate to live ten years and would be confined to a gurney for what remained of his life. Ralph decided that being a paraplegic would not hinder the goals he set for himself. With determination, grit, and an "I won't give-up"? attitude, Ralph earned a GED, a B.S. in Accounting at East Tennessee State University, and started his own accounting business after being injured. For his service in the Korean Conflict, he earned an additional Purple Heart. Ralph loved his country, his community, and his state. He felt that the people of the Third Legislative District deserved someone who would truly represent them. He decided to run for State Representative. He was elected to and served fourteen years in the Tennessee State Legislature. Ralph was active in several civic organizations. He was a member of Oakland Avenue Baptist Church. The family will receive friends Tuesday, February 10 from 5:30 until time of the service. The memorial service will follow at 8:00 with Pastor Roy Yelton and Evangelist Toonie Cash officiating. Interment will be at 11:00 Wednesday, February 11 at Roselawn Memory Garden. Those attending the graveside are asked to meet at the funeral home to leave in procession at 10:30. Pallbearers are Todd, Matt, and Jeremy Yelton, Louis Thorpe, Teddy Wise, and Dana Buchanan. The family wishes to give a special thanks to the nurses and staff on the second floor of the VA Nursing Facility for all their love and care of Ralph. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oakland Avenue Baptist Church, 2823 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37601 Memories and condolences may be made via: www.morrisbaker.com Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services is serving the Yelton family, 2001 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37601. (423) 282-1521

Memories Timeline


  1. Anonymous says:

    I am extremely sorry that I am out of town and cannot attend the service tomorrow night. I had the pleasure of serving in the legislature with Ralph and will always remember his dedication to the needs of his constituents. I visited Ralph on his birthday last year and will remember that visit very vividly. He will surely be missed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ralph’s family and are very sorry to hear of his passing, he will be extremely missed. Gordon & Jean Blessing

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ralph was a dear friend to me and my family. He helped me and others in any way he could throughout the years. He was the most admirable person I have ever known. He was selfless and never let his disability slow him down. He loved his family so much and everyone who knew Ralph loved him too. Such a great, great, person! I am so fortunate to have known him. He was a great mentor to me as well as others. My heart is breaking for his family. Anything I can do in this difficult time for the family would be an honor. They are in my prayers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Such a kind person who will be remembered for his kindness and help to others. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The light of this candle in no way reflects the light Ralph has brought to the lives of others.

  6. Anonymous says:

    When I worked at Sullivan East High School, Mr.Yelton was there attending a Veteran’s Day program. He and I were discussing different people around the Bluff City area. I told him that Rev Jim Boling was my grandfather. Mr Yelton told me he was saved during a revival that my grandfather was preaching in North Carolina when he was younger. RIP Mr Yelton. You were a good man.





  7. Anonymous says:

    Charlie, It was a pleasure to know your dad. He was always friendly and welcomed me in his home. You were blessed to have your father this many years. Thinking of you Joey

  8. Anonymous says:

    My condolences on the passing of Mr.Yelton. I had the honor of meeting him over the pass two years.He was a wonderful person inside and out.I will never forget him.

  9. Anonymous says:

    On behalf of my father N.R.Canipe Jr we would like to express our condolences for the Yelton’s family loss. My father speaks of Mr.Yelton in the highest regards as well as sharing with us many precious childhood memories of your family & friends in the mountains of North Carolina. What a wonderful testimony of his faith in God and service to our country and community. We deeply appreciate Mr.Yelton. Our world could certainly use more men like him.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of Ralph. I will be unable to attend any of the services due schedule conflicts. I remember Ralph from my youth up attending church with him at Reservoir Road Baptist and also as a member of Outdoorsmen Inc. I always respected and admired him. It is my prayer that God reaches down with his strong arms and comforts you during this time of bereavement.

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