MATTHEWS -- Ralph Laverne Sexton Sr., 88, died June 26, 2012, at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston.
Born June 18, 1924, in Canalou, to the late James Allen and Lillie Gilliam Sexton, he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and served in the South Pacific, specifically in Okinawa, Japan. He received the Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and the Army of Cooperation Medal Japan.
His teaching career spanned 36 years. He first was a teacher and coach at Morehouse School, a coach and principal at Canalou School and a teacher and coach at Matthews School for 30 years. In 1981, he was awarded Coach of the Year.
Ralph "Chigger" Sexton played baseball for 18 years in Southeast Missouri. He was invited to "Pro Try-out" with the St. Louis Browns. On May 12, 1984, he was inducted into the Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. He also helped to organize and manage youth baseball in Matthews. He was a member of First Assembly of God Church in Sikeston since Sept. 16, 1992.
In 1949, he married Delores Laquita Landers. In 1974, he married Lena Greenlee Warren. They both preceded him in death. In March 1990, he married Gwyneth Tinnin, and she survives.
Other survivors include: two sons and daughters-in-law, Ralph and Melvona Sexton Jr. and Bill and Carla Sexton, all of Sikeston; one daughter and son-in-law, Diane and David Pearson of Sikeston; and one sister, Marilyn Martha Kinsey of Sikeston.
Also surviving are five grandsons and their spouses: Blake (Colleen) Pearson, Brent (Frannie) Pearson and Zach (Jenny) Sexton of Sikeston, Daniel (Amanda) Sexton of Matthews and Josh (Kelly) Sexton of Cape Girardeau; two granddaughters and their spouses, LeAnn Pearson Malone (Hollis) of Benton and Lori Sexton Copeland (Bruce) of Sikeston; and eight great-grandchildren, Ben Pearson, Cullen Pearson, Rylan Malone, Camden Copeland, Leighton Copeland, Emmy Sexton, Wade Sexton and Molly Sexton.
He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Edward Kenneth Sexton and James Donald Sexton.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. today at the Nunnelee Funeral Chapel, where services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday. Allen Basham, associate pastor of Cape First Church, will officiate. His nephew, Dale Sexton will give the eulogy.
Burial will be at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sikeston.
Pallbearers will be: Blake Pearson, Daniel Sexton, Brent Pearson, Josh Sexton, Zach Sexton and Gregg Kinsey.
Honorary pallbearers will be: Dale Sexton, Lori Copeland, Oscar Mainord, Joe Hooks, Davis Littleton and Jim Bates.
Online condolences may be sent at www.nunneleefuneralchapel.com.