Ralph Charles Vanderveen, Jr. – age 98 – passed away June 21, 2020. He was the eldest son of Ralph and Grace (Nunn) Vanderveen and is survived by his three children, Rebecca (Runge), Mark and Eric; grandchildren, Rachel, Zachary, McKenna, Taylor and Andrew; brothers, Robert and Jim; and sisters, Wilma and Judy.
Ralph joined the U.S. Marine Corps and fought for his country in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese during World War II as a member of the VMF-214 Blacksheep Squadron under the command of Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington. Fighter pilots flying the now-famous Vought F4U-1A Corsair fighter aircraft met the Japanese over their own territory where the squadron earned a Presidential Unit Citation for their impressive service including a record 203 enemy aircraft destroyed in air-to-air combat, the sinking of numerous supply and transportation ships, and the destruction of many enemy installations. Ralph was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on October 5, 1945. Ralph continued to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve until he was again honorably discharged on March 15, 1951, having achieved the rank of Corporal.
Ralph married Carol Ann Runge of Copley, Ohio on February 5, 1955. Ralph and Carol were married for 64 years until her death on January 11, 2019. Ralph was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and served in Troop One for nearly a decade as an adult leader, Assistant Scout Master and Scout Master. His commitment and dedication to help young boys become honorable men through their scouting experience cannot be overstated.
At his own request, there will be no memorial service. Anyone wishing to make a gift or donation in his name is encouraged to contribute to Habitat For Humanity or the U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots.
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