Ralph Barksdale was born in Monte Vista Colorado July 1, 1933 to James and Mildred Barksdale. He grew up working on a ranch near Carbondale, Colorado until the age of 14. On the ranch he learned to fly a Piper Cub airplane. As a young man he, his dad, and his brothers (Glen and Bruce) worked in the mines, as well as logging,and also painted houses as a means to make a living.
After serving 2 years in the military he went to Art Center College of Design and pursued his passions and a career in illustration. He married Kathleen Merkley in 1961. They moved around the United States as work demanded. He worked in many art studios both east and west coast and taught at various colleges and 18 years in the BYU Illustration and Art Department.
His passion was learning any new thing about art, and the principles of art and design. He wanted to share that with all of his students and friends. He felt he was ever the student and that there would always be something new to discover. His knowledge and skill live on through his children and grandchildren, many who have followed him into the art field, as well as his students and friends, who he considered as his extended family.
He had a great passion for music and singing and had an accomplished voice. He was a wonderful storyteller and many evenings as a family were spent listening to "The Story".
He is survived by his brother Glenn, his wife Kathleen, his son's Jay, Brett, Chris, and Chad and his daughters Brianna and Mikaelie and his many grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his daughter Jacquelyn and his brother Bruce.