After high school, Ralph Chapa wanted to go to college, but there were no funds. Instead, he opted to go into the Navy, hoping he could get help with college from the military. Ralph says, “This was a great choice because it not only opened my eyes, but I learned to be responsible and to be a leader.”
Ralph spent the years 61-65 in the active Navy, and then he went into the U.S. Navy Reserves, Navy Seabees (CBs – Construction Battalion, a special branch of the U.S. Navy, training with the U.S. Marines), retiring in 1989. Throughout his entire career with the military, Ralph was a Personnel Man, in charge of enlisted service records.
Meanwhile, Ralph attended Draughon’s Business College in the years 65-66, from which he received a certificate in SR ACCTNG. Next, he received his BBA in accounting from St. Mary’s University, where he attended from 1966-70. Upon earning his BBA, Ralph joined the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 1970 to 1994.
Ralph became an instructor with Goodyear, teaching a 4-week class for new Goodyear store managers on Customer Satisfaction. During this time, he traveled all over the U.S. One of his favorite trips was to New York where he found “good food and great shops where you can buy anything, including a Rolex watch for $100.” But, he adds, “After two days, my wallet was hurting!” Another favorite training site was Los Angeles because of its beauty, good food, and clothing shops at the market. But, his proudest experience during his career at Goodyear was as an instructor in Akron, Ohio (85-89)
Today, Ralph lives in San Antonio where he works in Inventory Control at KMS Corp. He says he is “winding down at work so I can retire” to have more free time for his favorite pastimes. These include playing golf every two weeks and riding his bike every two weeks with his granddaughters.
Speaking of Ralph’s children, he has six daughters. One lives in San Diego; one in New York; and four in San Antonio. As for his grandchildren, Ralph has four girls and three boys, some who live in San Antonio; others live in San Diego, Las Vegas, and overseas in the military.
Aside from time spent with his family, Ralph finds joy in attending St. Helena Catholic Church and in his good health.