NO. 17661 •
Died 21 April 1967 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, aged 41 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
This letter is a labor of love that will never appear on paper exactly as it is etched in the minds and hearts of those who love you, admire you, and miss you. The two years since your passing have proven that you are one of those few truly great men who build so well in life that they live with even greater purpose after death.
We who had the joy and privilege of knowing you well are just beginning to really appreciate what an exceptional man you were. We knew you as father, son, brother, husband, pal, classmate, instructor, comrade-in-arms, community leader, patriot, soldier, officer, and professional engineer. We had the pleasure of participating with you and following your leadership in everything from wild schemes to rebuild the house and the country club, to Boy Scouts, investments, Little League, golf, bowling, squash, photography, art, music, camping, and yea ‑ even work. Your hobby must have been collecting hobbies, yet you did them all justice while maintaining excellence as an officer, engineer, and father.
When one works as hard as you did at so many worthwhile, difficult, and varied problems, one often does not see immediate results and wonders if any progress is being made. It occurred to us that you might appreciate a progress report on the results of your 4 1/2 short years of effective effort.
They are still talking at Leavenworth and Walter Reed about the great courage, good humor, and sheer guts you displayed during that last difficult year ‑ with the painful treatments, loss of voice, learning to talk all over again, and all the while keeping an even keel at home and at work.
The tremendous stack of condolence letters from friends and admirers all over the world shows what an indelible impression you made on so many people. The letters were from generals, contemporaries, junior officers, enlisted men, and civilians ‑ completely rounded just as your beautiful life.
Of course the most important monument a man can build is his family, Your performance here is proving every day to be your crowning achievement. Your brave wife, three handsome sons and darling daughter all reflect your example, the goals you set before them, and the love you lavished on them. I hope it is possible that you are able to see them from your new duty station and to share the pride and admiration we all feel for them as they go about the important business of maturing and contributing to the community by their actions. Joy, Stephen, David, Lani, and Larry will always shed credit on their beloved husband and father.
You will be happy to know that your Boy Scouts in Korea, Leavenworth, and Springfield, are flourishing because you built so well. The many contributions sent in on your behalf to the Springfield troop have resulted in a fitting and practical memorial to the things you stood for. The Springfield Country Club, whose inception received the benefit of your wise guidance and hard work, has become one of the finest in the Northern Virginia area. The real estate work you did in DCSLOG still serves the Army well as do your many construction projects and the officers and men you trained and guided so effectively. Indeed Ralph, you left your mark. "When man departs from this world, neither silver nor gold accompany him; he is remembered only for his love of learning, love of his fellow men and his good deeds."
Thus you are remembered, dear friend.
- E. C. West