Ralph Bietila (deceased)
Year Inducted: 1975
Born: July 8, 1924 Ishpeming, MI
Died: October 22, 2008 Marquette, MI
Ralph was the youngest member of the famous "Flying Bietilas", He competed in ski jumping over 42 years.
He competed in his first event at the age of nine and was 49 when he entered the Veterans Class event at the annual ski jumping tournament on Ishpeming's Suicide Hill in 1974. He was a member of the U.S. Ski Team at the F.I.S. World Championships in 1951 and the Olympic Games in 1952.
He won the National Veterans class Championship at the age of 39 with a jump of 261 feet which remained a Veterans Class record at Steamboat Springs for many years. He was highly regarded for his courage, sportsmanship and for his encouragement to young ski jumpers.
He served with distinction during World War Two in the U.S. Navy.