Cover photo for Tsgt. Ralph Alderson Mcelwain, Usaf (Ret.)'s Obituary
Tsgt. Ralph Alderson Mcelwain, Usaf (Ret.) Profile Photo

Tsgt. Ralph Alderson Mcelwain, Usaf (Ret.)

September 7, 1935 — January 2, 2022

TSgt. Ralph Alderson McElwain, USAF (Ret.) passed into the arms of his Heavenly Savior on the morning of Sunday, January 2, 2022 at the age of 86.

Ralph was born on September 7, 1935, in Russellville, Kentucky where he and Bessie (Bess) Hildabrand met, and fell in love. They were married on April 10, 1958 and celebrated 63 years in 2021.

Other survivors include five children, Julia Forbes (Will), Betsy Hollifield (Mark), Paula Phillips (Ruis), Frank McElwain (Janice), and Daryl McElwain (Amy); brother, Bobby Collins; sister, Diana Burchett; 18 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

During his United States Air Force career as an air traffic controller, Ralph served in Vietnam and he and Bess were stationed at bases in the United States as well as ones around the world. In 1974, Ralph retired from Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta. Ralph then transitioned to the Federal Aviation Administration as a Flight Service Specialist. He and Bess moved to Warner Robins in 1987, and he retired from the FAA in 1995.

Ralph was saved as a young adult. He was a member of Oakland Baptist Church since 1987. For years, he enjoyed working with the food ministry and helped with food preparation for the men’s fellowship.

Ralph and Bess enjoyed traveling, golfing, square dancing, and frequent big family get-togethers. Ralph was a loving husband, fantastic father, and a role model to his entire family. He was deeply loved by all who knew him.

The family will receive visitors from 6:00 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at McCullough Funeral Home. His funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2022 in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home. He will be laid to rest at Magnolia Park Cemetery. Ralph would be proud to know that his grandsons will be pallbearers for his funeral.

Learn more about the measures McCullough Funeral Home is taking to ensure the health and safety of our guests at There you can also sign an Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home and Crematory has the privilege of being entrusted with these arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Tsgt. Ralph Alderson Mcelwain, Usaf (Ret.), please visit our flower store.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

6:00 - 8:00pm (Eastern time)

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)

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