Gilpin, Ralph Douglas, age 83, of North Branch, Michigan, died Friday, November 28, 2014. Ralph was born on February 10, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. He was the younger son of the late William Edward Gilpin and of the late Viola Marguerite (Brunt) Gilpin. Ralph is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Marjorie Joy (Green) Gilpin, whom he married on September 12, 1953 in Roseville, Michigan. Marjorie passed away just four months earlier on July 15, 2014. Ralph served our country during the Korean War. Upon returning to civilian life he attended Michigan State University, pursued a career in law enforcement and eventually became a trial lawyer, obtaining his law degree from University of Detroit Law School. Government was the guiding institution in Ralph’s life and through it he lived a life of clear definition and purpose. He was involved, committed and passionate. He never wavered from the consistent themes that ran throughout his life. Those themes were: history and museums; military and veterans; and, politics and law. On each of those themes, he aimed high. Not by coincidence, to aim high is the motto of the U.S. Air Force, the branch of the armed services in which Ralph served. The “aim high” motto is a two-part expression: a call to action, with a response of commitment. After his retirement from the corporate work as an attorney for Blue Cross Shield of Michigan, Ralph and Marjorie moved to North Branch in 1997. Ralph integrated into rural life through his involvement in local government. He served as commissioner on the Rich Township Board. He was active in politics and served as delegate for the State Republican Party. He completed a certificate in general civil mediation and took on arbitration cases. He served on a veterans benefits board and, among other things, used his knowledge of law and government bureaucracy to obtain headstones for fallen soldiers and veterans. He was a member of the American Legion honor guard serving at the burials of fallen military service personnel. He reveled in pomp and protocol and was often pictured in the local papers carrying flags and marching in patriotic parades on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Ralph’s biggest passion in life was flying. He was a licensed pilot. In the ‘80s he bought his own single engine airplane. He joined the Yankee Air Force Museum, based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti. After the relocation to North Branch, Ralph and seven other men started a new air museum called Great Lakes Transport Museum, Ltd. It is a collection of aircraft and military memorabilia, along with other transportation artifacts. The museum, located in Burton, has attracted nearly 5,000 visitors this year. Ralph is survived by his daughters, Betsy Jean Davis of Rapid City, Mich., and Karen Joy (Mark) Buchman of Rochester Hills, Mich.; granddaughter, Sarah Henry (New York), N.Y.), and three grandsons, Nathaniel Henry of Okemos, Mich., Karl Buchman and Kevin Buchman both of Rochester Hills, Mich., also one nephew and three nieces residing in the Pacific Northwest, and a cousin, Brian (Sheila) Mathewson of Ontario, Canada. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie, brother, Richard Edward Gilpin, and his beloved aunt, Katheleen Victoria (Brunt) Mathewson. A service of transition from this life to the next for Ralph will be held on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home in North Branch, Michigan. Honoring tradition, the service will begin with breakfast at 9 a.m. at the chapel, just as Ralph started each morning of his life. Following breakfast, Ralph’s daughters and grandchildren will lead in storytelling of Ralph’s life in the same Irish tradition as Ralph, the great storyteller, entertained his family with tales of his adventures. The North Branch American Legion Post 457 will serve as honor guard for Ralph, a veteran of the Korean War. Interment will follow, to be witnessed by Ralph’s children