Ralph Montelius, PKE MBA ’87

Ralph passed away on February 14, 2014. He was interred with full military honors at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery. Ralph is survived by his wife Faye.

In 2011, the Presidents and Key Executive MBA graduate was the subject of an article about his commitment to community service and the pride he held dear as a Pepperdine alumnus. The article reads as follows:

PKE Graduate Commits His Retirement to Community

Ralph Montelius Credits Pepperdine’s PKE Program With Enthusiasm for Service.
by Larenda Roberts

Pepperdine Graziadio Presidential/Key Executive alumnus Ralph Montelius is known for his catching and enthusiastic spirit.  The 77-year-old retired Triad Systems Corporation executive and former Air Force senior master sergeant lives with his wife of 56 years, Faye, in Romoland, Southern California, where he serves his community and people worldwide.

Of his Pepperdine education, Ralph says, “My participation in the PKE Program was pure joy! The program gave me the grounding I needed in the business/financial aspect of running my service division.  Based on the courses provided, I was able to improve the division’s profit margins dramatically as well as improve the corporation’s customer satisfaction.”

A “Can-Do” Man

Triad Systems, now Activant, was founded in 1972 by Pepperdine Regent William “Bill” Stevens.  Initially, the company specialized in inventory management software serving the automotive industry.  Eventually, Triad grew into an international corporation, going public in 1979.

Bill Stevens recalls, “We had just gotten Triad up and running and were in need of someone to head up our service department.  I met Ralph and Faye at church and was impressed with how Ralph was a ‘can-do’ person.  We hired Ralph who did a spectacular job as VP for field service.  Ralph had several hundred field engineers and staff under his direction.  He oversaw Triad offices all over the US and several foreign countries. While VP, he completed the Pepperdine PKE Program and was granted an MBA.”

Triad established the Ralph C. Montelius Award for Personal Development, given to employees who pursue and complete a college degree while employed at the company.  The award was named in honor of Ralph; he earned his master’s degree after age 55.

You Can’t “Out-Give”

Pepperdine’s PKE program gave Ralph other gifts as well.  “The program has opened my eyes to allow me to help others without fear of failure. I have found that you can’t ‘out-give’ of yourself.  There is always another opportunity available around the corner.”

Ralph served as an elder at the Redwood Church of Christ in Redwood City, CA, for a number of years, where he participated in a joint venture with Pepperdine, teaching and housing local community college students on the church property.

In 1996, Ralph retired from Triad.  Medical and family needs waylaid the couple’s plans to travel.  Since 2005, Ralph has been confined to a wheelchair, having suffered spinal damage due to radiation treatment for cancer in the 1950s and subsequent surgeries. But that doesn’t hold back the former B-36 bomber crew chief, whose optimism and passion to serve others radiates to all who come in contact with him.

Today, Ralph and Faye collect wheelchairs for Joni and Friends Wheels for the World, an international nonprofit organization that distributes wheelchairs to people in third world countries.

But collecting wheelchairs is just the beginning of this amazing ministry. First, the chairs are refurbished by prisoners.  Then, accompanied by medical and construction teams, they are delivered all over the world to handicapped persons.  Each chair is custom-fitted to the patient, and the construction teams build ramps and widen doorways for ease of use.  A Gospel-based ministry, Wheels for the World gives each recipient a Bible and evangelical materials.  Ralph and Faye have collected many wheelchairs, as well as walkers.

The Monteliuses also support the Adopt a Chaplain and Adopt a Soldier programs for those serving in Afghanistan, and they welcome home returning soldiers.  Every month, Ralph and Faye cook a homemade meal for some 70 homeless citizens in their community.

Of his physical limitations, Ralph says, “Our auto travel is less than five hours at a time.  But that just has us focus on what we can do locally.  We still have a very full life and are blessed to do what we can in service to our fellow man and to the Lord.  Our children love us and keep in contact, come visit when they can. Our golden retriever Ginger walks every morning with Faye, and they are real pals.  Above all, I have a wife who loves me dearly and is my best friend. Now you can’t beat a deal like that!”

Ralph’s favorite scripture:  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Ralph Montelius, PKE MBA ’87

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