Ralph Willhite Jacksonville Death: Speedway Accident, Mechanic at Centre State International Trucks Has Died

Ralph Willhite Jacksonville Death: Ralph Willhite, a beloved resident of South Jacksonville, Illinois, and a dedicated mechanic at Centre State International Trucks, tragically passed away on Friday, June 28, 2024. He was involved in a fatal accident at Jacksonville Speedway, where he was struck by a 410-winged sprint car that lost control while he was in the infield. The Morgan County Coroner’s Office confirmed his death at the scene.

Ralph was deeply cherished by his community, as evidenced by a heartfelt Facebook post mourning his loss: “There are no words. We lost one of our own last night at the races. Please keep Cheryl, Drake, Drew and the entire Willhite family in your prayers for some time. Ralph was a huge piece of our race team and although we were not blood he was family. Godspeed Ralph, until we meet again my friend.”

Born on January 11, 1959, in Macomb, Ralph was the son of James and Cris Willhite. He married Cheryl Burgess on May 9, 1981, at Grace United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. Ralph graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1977, where he excelled in football and track. He dedicated over 42 years of hard work as a diesel mechanic at Centre State International Trucks, formerly Byers International.

Ralph’s passions extended beyond his career; he was deeply involved in racing and served on the race crews of Bobby Hawks and Paul Nienhiser for many years. He enjoyed deer hunting with his sons and cherished moments with his family. Ralph was a loving husband to Cheryl, a devoted father to Drew and Drake, and a proud grandfather to Clarissa, Haven, and Hazel.

Details regarding Ralph Willhite’s obituary and funeral arrangements will be announced by his family at a later date. His memory will forever be cherished by all who knew and loved him.

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