Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SSGT Ralph A. Franke, United States Army, Ret.

Ralph Franke was born January 15, 1925 in New Ulm, Texas and passed away July 31, 2012, at the age of 87, at the Temple VA Hospital after a long illness.

Ralph was educated in El Campo, Texas and entered the United States Army during World War II and served his country for 24 years, retiring in 1968.  His service took him to the Phillipines, Germany, Korea, Panama and Fort Hood, Texas.

Ralph was a member of the Harker Heights United Methodist Church, the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.  He enjoyed gardening and was a devoted fan of the Texas Aggies and the Cowboys.

Funeral services were conducted on August 6 at the church he had attended for many years.  In attendance were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to welcome the arriving family and friends.  The service included vocal renditions of "The Old Rugged Cross" and "It is well with my Soul", and the congregational singing of "Amazing Grace."

After the service, the Riders led the funeral procession to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen, Texas, where the family was welcomed by fifty American flags lining the roadway in front of the committal shelter.

After the Army Honor Guard moved the flag draped casket from the hearse to the shelter, the Riders formed a line of flags around the shelter.

Final prayers were offered by the Methodist Pastor, and the Army Honor Guard rendered full military honors.    The detail of five rifles fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country.  The Army bugler played taps.  The American flag that covered the casket was folded, with thirteen folds, into the traditional triangle and passed to an Army Non-Commissioned Officer.

The flag was presented to Ralph's dearly beloved wife of 64 years on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for Ralph's honorable and faithful service.

The service concluded with family members placing flowers upon the coffin.

SSGT Ralph Franke was then laid to rest on the cemetary hillside, overlooking the Texas hill country, as the American flag flew at half-staff, in his honor, at the top of the hill.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Patricia, one son, two daughters, seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, 7 great-great-grandchildren and numerous other dear family and friends.

If you go first
and I remain, one
thing I'd have you do.

Walk slowly down
that long, long road
and soon I'll follow you.


With thanks to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home for biographical information and photo.

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