Ralph D. Horton
USS Salt Lake City CA25
USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Ralph D. Horton, AM3c
Ralph Horton passed away on Jan. 6th, 2004 - See Obituary below
Ralph Horton went through "Boot Camp" in San Diego, CA. with
Haile H. "Jake" Jaekel.
They were in "Company 116" and were among 25 members of that
Company that were taken out two weeks before graduation on
Oct. 18th, 1941 and sent aboard the USS Salt Lake City.
Los Angeles Times
30 January 2004
RALPH DEWEY HORTON, JR.
Horton, Jr., Ralph Dewey (79) Died on January 6, 2004 in his home in Torrance, California after a long battle with asbestosis and emphysema. Ralph was surrounded during his last days by loving family and friends. He was able, through grit and incredible will, to host one more family Christmas and die at home exactly as he had wished. Ralph was born on May 29, 1924 in Anadarko, Oklahoma and grew up in Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Los Angeles, California.
Ralph left Hamilton High School after his junior year in order to enlist in the U.S. Navy in September of 1941. He was shipped to Pearl Harbor in early December and was assigned temporarily to a 40 foot launch to shuttle crews to chapel on the morning of December 7, 1941. Right after the first bombs fell, he found himself manning a boat hook for 14 hours, at first pulling survivors and then the dead from the water during that long day. Ralph served on a heavy cruiser, the USS Salt Lake City ("The Swayback Maru") during the entire of WWII and participated in all but one of the major battles of the Pacific campaign.
After he was discharged as an Aviation Metalsmith 3c, Ralph moved on to civilian life and rarely spoke of his Navy exploits.
Ralph met the great love of his life, Elizabeth Mae (Betty) Patterson, in 1949. They married in 1950 and raised three sons in Torrance. Ralph was a proud union member, dedicated worker, and excellent craftsman for nearly 50 years. He spent much of his professional life helping construct and later operate large commercial buildings. Outside of work, he was a creative and innovative problem solver who could design, construct and solve any residential problem -- as many family members and friends can attest. He retired in 1990 with pensions from the Sheet Metal Workers (Local 108 and the International - 30 years) and the Operating Engineers (15 years).
Ralph and Betty celebrated their 44th anniversary before Betty's death on July 18, 1994. Later that year, through the fortuitous efforts of his great friend and shipmate, Ed Kromberger, Ralph was reunited with many of his old friends. Ralph became a proud life member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Chapter 1 and the USS Salt Lake City Association.
He wore his loyalties and his politics on his sleeve and was known, every Thanksgiving Day celebration, when asked what he was thankful for, to loudly and proudly declare: "I'm thankful that I never voted Republican!"
He had friends from all walks of life and political parties and was an incredibly generous and giving soul with his time, labors and money to friends, neighbors, and family.
Ralph was very grateful to his dear friends and neighbors Bonnie Meyer and Inge Lankford, his beloved little sister, Jane Grau, and his sister-in-law and her husband Anna and Allen Streiff. All of their caring and friendship, after Betty passed away, helped Ralph find joy in his last years. He was proud of and especially generous to his three sons, Scott, Craig, and Peter and their wives and his seven grandchildren: all of whom loved him madly. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and his sister, Jane.
Ralph will be remembered - often for his humor and startling turn of phrase -- and missed by the many generations of his nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends - many who called him "Grandpa." He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.
Ralph D. Horton|
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