Ralph R. Ruggles Jr., 96, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, passed away on Feb. 12, 2017 at Cross Keys Village.
Ralph was born March 4, 1920 in Littlestown to Ralph R. and Mary C. Ruggles.
On Nov. 18, 1941, he reported for duty with the United States Army. In spring of 1943, anxious to serve in the infantry, then-Corporal Ruggles requested transfer to a combat division. Before shipping out to the European theater, Ralph married Dorothy I. Doel on July 30, 1943, in Littlestown, at Centenary Methodist Church. Known to his company as "Railroad," Ralph and his company were instrumental in taking and holding Phillipsbourg, France, a key shipping port to the German army along the Rhine River. After being injured by a grenade in the line of duty defending Phillipsbourg, Ralph received a field promotion to 2nd lieutenant. In February 1946, he finally arrived home to his new bride and was relieved from active duty July 13, 1946. As a veteran of World War II serving in the United States Army both stateside and in the European Theater in the 70th Infantry Division, Ralph was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, National Order of Battlefield Commissions Medal of Valor, Expert Infantryman Badge, Good Conduct, and European Theater of Operations medals.
Returning to civilian life, Ralph worked for the United States Postal Service as a rural mail carrier for 33 years. Being avid travelers, Ralph and Dorothy worked for Bailey Travel Services, leading a wide variety of tours worldwide. Back home when they weren't exploring the world, he was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Hanover was involved in Covenant Brothers, and was named Methodist Man of the Year 1994.
He founded the Jaycees chapter in Littlestown, resulting in an annual Ralph R. Ruggles award for outstanding Jaycee each year, was a Past Commander of the Ocker-Snyder Post #321 of the American Legion in Littlestown, was a member of the Hanover Elks BPOE #723, and was a member and Past Master of Patmos Lodge No. 348 F & AM in Hanover. Until his death, Ralph was the oldest living Past Master of Patmos Lodge.
Ralph was preceded in death by his bride of 64 years, Dorothy I. Ruggles; brothers, Lowell Ruggles, Kenneth Ruggles, and Donald Ruggles; and sisters, Marian King, Pauline Keefer, and MaryEllen Feeser.
Ralph is survived by two sons, Rev. Ronald W. Ruggles Sr. and wife Jane Cathryne (Strausbaugh) Ruggles of Paducah, Ky., and Douglas A. Ruggles of New York City, N.Y.; three grandchildren, Ronald W. Ruggles Jr. and wife Marianne of Debary, Fla., Tracey Leigh (Ruggles) Waldespuhl and husband Kris of Covington, Ky., and Erin Aileen (Ruggles) Coney and husband Brian of Lebanon, Ohio; and great-granddaughters Christina and Brooke, of Debary, Fla.
A service to remember and celebrate his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 200 Frederick St., Hanover, with the Rev. Joshua N. Rhone officiating. Burial will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Littlestown, with military honors being rendered by the Hanover Allied Veterans Honor Guard. Pallbearers will be brethren from the Patmos Lodge.
The family will receive friends at viewings to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday at Panebaker Funeral Home & Cremation Care Center Inc., 311 Broadway, Hanover. A Masonic Funeral Rite will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church, with the family receiving friends until 10:45 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National World War II Museum, http://www.nationalww2museum.org/give/ or by calling 504-528-1944 x 290.