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Ralph J. Walters

January 22, 1920 — February 7, 2011

Ralph J. Walters

Ralph Joseph Walters, age 91, of Hays, Kansas, passed away on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Bradford Court Assisted Living Home in Nixa, MO, where he had relocated to be closer to his daughter's family and his grandchildren. Ralph was born on January 22, 1920 to Frank and Monica (Koerner) Walters in Severin, Ellis County, Kansas. He was the sixth child, and only son, of Frank and Monica's twelve children. He lost his mother, Monica, when he was twelve years old. His father, Frank, later married Rose (Urban) Befort and their family grew by four more children. Ralph grew up in Hays, KS and graduated high school from Saint Joseph's Military academy. After graduation he entered the US Army in 1944. He was trained for weapons control and repair and tank mechanics. After being discharged from the Army Ralph returned to Hays and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Fort Hays Kansas State College in May of 1950. In 1949 a National Guard unit was formed and Ralph became a charter member of the 135th AAA Kansas National Guard unit. While working as the mechanic shop supervisor he received a commission as a Warrant Officer. He reported to active duty on May 15, 1968, at Ft. Hood, TX and later served in Central Highlands of Vietnam with the 4th Inf. Div., 704th Maintenance Battalion. After Vietnam Ralph returned to Hays and continued serving the National Guard until he retired from the military as Chief Warrant Officer (CW4) on January 22, 1980. During his service he received the following awards: Bronze Star with cluster, Meritorious Service, WWII Victory, American Defense, American Campaign, and Vietnam Service. Ralph joined the American Legion in 1946 and became a life member of Hays Post #173. He served Post #173 as Commander, First Vice Adjutant, Sergeant-at-Arms and District Vice Commander. Ralph was also a member of the La Society Des Quarante Hommes Et Huit Chevaux, also known as Forty and Eight, from 1949 to 1962, and served as Chef de Gare, Chef de Train, Conducteur and Correspondent. In 1962 Voiture #1197 surrendered its charter but was reinstated with Voiture #1543 in 1981. Ralph served Voiture #1543 as Avocate, Drapeau, Lampiste, Garde de la Port and Correspondent and in 1989 was appointed as Grand Directeur (Curator) of Kansas Merci Box Car (Museum). Ralph was a proud tireless supporter of The Forty and Eight and loved giving tours of the Kansas Box Car. After he retired from the military Ralph continued to be active in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and The Forty and Eight. He did honor guard duty at the funerals of soldiers and veterans whenever requested and it was an involvement that meant much to him. He once said, "One of my big jobs in life was to pay back the military - those that gave the ultimate." And he did just that.Ralph was a good man with a strong faith in God and people. He was always there for his family and community. Ralph's constant good grace and humor was always welcoming and inviting and is dearly missed. Ralph is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Clemens, her husband, Richard Clemens and their children Eli and William, 5 sisters: Marcella Dreiling of Chapman, KS, Sister Mary Alice of Cudahy, Wisconsin, Rosemary Gerstner of Conyers, GA, Leona Fross of Hays, KS, and Janet and her husband Jude Gerstner of Overland Park, KS. 2 brothers: Ronald Walters and his wife Pam Fraser-Walters of Albuquerque, NM and Robert Befort and his wife, Ernestine of Ellis, KS. He is also survived by his grandchildren Mitchell and Susie Carroll and their children Michael, Jennifer and Anne, and their grandchild Valerie, Mtn. Grove, MO; Patricia Wall and her husband, Paul, and their children Samuel and Emma, Bolivar, MO; Timothy Carroll and his wife, Jenna, Union, MO; and Anna Graves and her husband, Ferrill and their children Ethan and Maggie, Willow Springs, MO. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Mae, his stepdaughter, Darlene Carroll, his parents Frank and Monica, his stepmother, Rose Walters, by his siblings Cecelia Wolf, Katie Schmidt, Alice Windholz, Mary Pfeifer, Frances Schmidt, Rita Mae Walters, Wilma Ann Isengard, and Miriam LaVonne Walters. Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. On Saturday, February 12, 2011 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Burial will be at St. Joseph's Cemetery with Military Honors by the Hays VFW, American Legion and the Legion Riders.Friends and loved ones may call from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday and from 8:30 a.m. until service time Saturday at Brock's North Hill Chapel 2509 Vine Hays, KS. 67601.A parish vigil service will be at 6:30 Friday followed by a Forty and Eight memorial service all at the funeral home.Contributions are suggested to the Disabled American Veteran's Chapter 18 in Hays and may be sent in care of the funeral home.











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