Dr. Ralph E. Alter “Doc” age 96, and a lifelong resident of Coffeyville, Kansas, passed from this life on Friday, September 6, 2019.
Dr. Alter was born in Coffeyville on March 2, 1923 to Harlan and Lora (Brown) Alter. He attended local schools, where he was active in 4-H. He graduated from Field Kindley High School in 1940, continued his education at Coffeyville Community College for one year, and was then admitted to Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 1942. He was called into military service and served in the Army’s specialized training program as a private first class. While still serving, and under the Army’s supervision, he was sent back to KSU to continue his education in the veterinary program. He was honorably discharged from the Army so he may finish his last year of college, receiving his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1945, and was then appointed as a Captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp Reserves.
Dr. Alter was first employed as an Assistant Veterinarian in Ankeny, Iowa, then was hired by a prominent, published and nationally known veterinarian in Des Moines, Iowa. It was there that Dr. Alter met Norma (Dreessen), and the couple were united in marriage. They then made their home in Coffeyville, KS. Doc opened his practice in 1946, where he first primarily cared for large livestock, traveling to ranches, dairy farms, sale barns, and conducting meat inspections. After opening his own clinic in 1963, he practiced for nearly 60 more years caring for both large and small animals. His excellence in care for all animals and the true compassion he possessed is what made his practice immeasurable in comparison for 66 years.
Dr. Alter and Norma were blessed with one son, Steven Charles Alter, in 1948. In addition to being a devoted husband and father, Dr. Alter was an active member of the Coffeyville community. He was a lifelong member of the American Veterinary Medical Association; the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA); and the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association. He was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the KVMA. Dr. Alter was a member of the Ahearn Club of Kansas State University’s Alumni Association; a longtime member of the Coffeyville Rotary Club, the Coffeyville Country Club, and the Mirza Shrine Club. He was past president of the Coffeyville Interstate Fair and Rodeo while also serving as Fair and Rodeo veterinarian for decades. Dr. Alter was a board member of the Condon National Bank; served 12 years as a board member of the Coffeyville School District USD 445; and served two years on the Coffeyville Community College board, where a scholarship fund was set up in his name. He was a lifetime member of the First United Methodist Church where he also served as a deacon and an usher.
Dr. Alter’s memories will live on with his son, Steve and his wife Kandise of Tulsa; granddaughter Staci Alter of Tulsa; great-grandson Matthew Winders of Tulsa; nieces Judy and Jeanie Anderson; and many people of the Coffeyville community that he served and loved.
He now rests with his parents, his wife Norma, sister Kathleen Anderson, and niece Janet Anderson.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 11:00am at Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel with Pastor Nicole Schwartz-Eck officiating. Interment will immediately follow in Fairview Cemetery. Friends are invited to sign the register and greet the family on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The family suggests memorials be made payable to the Alter Veterinarian Foundation, and they may be sent in care of Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel 2405 Woodland Ave. Coffeyville, KS 67337. To leave the family a message of condolence, please visit www.fordwulfbrunschapel.com