Oct. 23, 2007 Richmond Richmond City Virginia, USA
Claude D. Alexander, 61, died Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, at Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., from injuries suffered during a sport skydiving accident and ensuing infection while in the hospital.
He was born Aug. 16, 1946, in Dodge City, to Arthur Alexander and Susie Dean. In 1964, he graduated from Grant County Rural High School, where he learned the Russian language.
After enlisting in the U.S. Army, he was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., one year later as a member of the class of 1969. He went on to Ranger school at Fort Benning, Ga., graduating with honors as an Army Airborne Ranger. He completed jump school and advanced jungle warfare training before being deployed to Vietnam in 1970. Capt. Alexander suffered life-threatening wounds as a platoon leader with Company L (Ranger) 75th Infantry 101st Airborne Division during combat in Vietnam, losing his left leg and suffering hearing loss. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor. He spent a year in recovery before medically retiring from the Army.
He attended Columbia University, earning a master's degree in international relations with a certificate from the Russian Institute. Following graduate school, he worked for Sen. Robert Dole, becoming the chief legislative assistant with expertise in agriculture, defense and other issues. He also worked for several years for the National Food Processors Association, going on to represent Ralston Purina Co. and Energizer in Washington, D.C., for 20 years before retiring in 2003. His work at Purina included improving trade relations with the former Soviet Union during the early 1990s. In retirement, he worked as a consultant and was active in many Washington organizations, including the Missouri-Kansas Forum and the Kansas and Missouri state societies, and was still involved in the family's fourth-generation farming business.
Mr. Alexander was a member of West Point Association of Graduates, Disabled American Veterans Association and the National Inconvenienced Sportsmen Association. In recent years, he volunteered weekly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, mentoring soldiers who had lost limbs in combat. He enjoyed watching his son play football, skydiving and watching car races.
Survivors include his wife, Denise; two sons, Philip and Kevin; a daughter, Meg; four brothers, Mervin, Arlin, Scotty and Duane; and a sister, Susan.
Funeral was at Memorial Chapel in Fort Myer, Va., followed by a reception at the Fort Myer Officer's Club. Burial was Jan. 3, 2008, at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors conducted.