Ralph F. Ruhland

March 26, 1935 - August 13, 2017


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Ret. Lt. Commander Ralph F. Ruhland, age 82, of Plain, died on Sunday, August 13, 2017 from injuries he received after being struck by a car. He was born on March 26, 1935, in Plain, Wisconsin. He was widowed from his beloved wife of 47 years, Annemarie Ruhland. In 1953, Ralph joined the United States Navy at only 18 years old. In 1954, he went to Mine Warfare School in Yorktown, VA, where he learned how to assemble and test Navy mines and depth charges using electricity, explosives, and sound magnetic pressure. From 1955 to 1958, he went to a Harbor Defense Unit in San Francisco, CA, aboard the USS Yorktown and studied at a mine prep facility in Long Beach, CA. In 1960, he returned to Naval Mine Warfare School to receive advanced training in new mines, torpedoes, and depth charges. Ralph then traveled to Key West, FL, to learn how to assemble and test nuclear depth charges, and how to maintain and prepare atomic and hydraulic weapons for use against Russian submarines. In 1961, he went to Newfoundland, Canada, where he continued to work on weapons and torpedoes. In 1963, Ralph trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and became the company commander for two companies of Naval recruits and was he was quickly promoted to Ensign. He then traveled to Newport, RI, and Hawthorne, NV, to work on mines, bombs, and missiles. In 1967, he went to DaNang, Vietnam, as the Officer-in-Charge of Naval Support Activity and Naval Logistics. He patrolled the harbor and rivers around Danang with gun boats, then went on to help run offloading of ships and ship ammunition, food, helicopters, tanks, and building materials to the Marines, Army, Koreans, Australians, Koreans, and South Vietnamese. After the officer in charge was killed in Hue, Vietnam, Ralph traveled up-river to take over, then moved to Tan My. He was then medevacked out of Vietnam in late 1967 and spent time at the Naval Hospital in Guam and at Great Lakes, IL. In 1968, he returned to active duty in Charleston, SC, to the Mobile Mine Assembly Group as the Administrative Officer for a new 160-man command. From there, he went to Keflavik, Iceland, where he trained with NATO forces to run the supply operations shop. Ralph then traveled to Machrihanish, Scotland, to run a NATO mine shop on a Royal British Navy Base and continued to Glen Douglas, Scotland, to run a NATO mine ship near the submarine base at Holy Loch. In 1970, he went to Sigonella, Sicily, to reassemble mines for NATO and also worked at a German submarine base, then to Souda Bay, Crete, to open a new mine shop. From 1971-1973 he was assigned to Commander Naval Surface Force US Pacific Fleet and was a Weapons Distribution Officer and a Mine Assembly and Repair Officer.  After 22 years, Ralph ended his naval career in Honolulu, HI, as a Lt. Commander in the United States Navy. His distinguished service awards include two Navy Accommodation Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.  Ralph was a member of St. Luke’ s Catholic Church, American Legion Post 398 in Plain, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3434 in Hillpoint. He was a former School Board Member for the River Valley School District and former Trustee for the Village Board in Plain.  Ralph loved to play cards, watch Fox News, cross word puzzles, and eat popcorn.  He will be deeply missed by his children.  Survivors include his seven children, Lisa (David) Alery of Stevens Point, Renee Ruhland of Waunakee, Dawn Baranowski of Larsen, Kim (Craig) Foelker of Fort Atkinson, Kirsten Ruhland of Stafford, VA, Bernard Ruhland of Los Angeles, CA, and Malia (Barry) Powers of Tampa, FL; 10 grandchildren, Jared, Sydney, Alex, Jessica, Ryan, Jasen, Trina, Houston, Holland and Rocco; five siblings, Lloyd, Lester, Imelda, Carol Jean and Earl; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Almira Ruhland, siblings Evan, Glen, Roger, and Alice, and his loving wife Annemarie. A private burial service will be held for the immediate family. Please join us for a celebration of life to be held on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at the American Legion Clubhouse in Plain, WI from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Memorials can be made to St. Luke’s Catholic School Scholarship Fund where a scholarship will be made in Ralph Ruhland’s name. The Richardson-Stafford Funeral Home in Spring Green is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Online condolences available at