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 Ralph George Dreher

Ralph George Dreher

Birth
Vancouver, Clark County, Washington, USA
Death 28 Apr 2014 (aged 96)
Washougal, Clark County, Washington, USA
Burial Proebstel, Clark County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 49441541 · View Source
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RALPH GEORGE DREHER
January 9, 1918 ~ April 28, 2014

Ralph George Dreher was born January 9, 1918 in Vancouver, Washington where he spent most of his life. He died April 28, 2014 at his home in Washougal, Washington. Ralph graduated from high school, and then joined the army, serving his first enlistment at Ft. Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington. He reenlisted in 1940 as the war in Europe escalated, and served with the 168th Infantry Regiment in Northern Africa and Italy.

During the war, Ralph corresponded with the sister of an Army buddy. Her name was Harriet, and she was living in San Francisco, California while serving in the Coast Guard. After both were discharged, the two met in Vancouver, Washington in August, and married on September 2, 1945. Harriet was the love of Ralph's life.

They enjoyed camping with their two sons, traveling, and spending time with their many friends and extended family. He loved fishing and gardening. Ralph and Harriet were both VFW Lifelong Members.

Ralph worked for various construction companies and for the City of Vancouver, Washington after the war. He retired from Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill in Camas, Washington in 1975.

Ralph is survived by son, Philip (Donna) of Camas, Washington; grandson, Brent (Missy) of Beaverton, Oregon; granddaughter, Taryn of Aloha, Oregon; nephew, Richard Kendall (Holly) of Vancouver, Washington; and by Tom Durgan of Vancouver, Washington who Ralph and Harriet considered "family by choice" for many years.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Harriet in 2009 and his son, Michael in 2007.

A Celebration of Ralph's Life was held on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at Columbia Ridge Senior Living Facility, 2300 W. 9th St., Washougal, Washington.

Published in The Columbian, Vancouver, Washington on May 4, 2014

PROEBSTEL - Thanks to Clark County jail work crews, it looks like 89-year-old Ralph Dreher and his wife, Harriet, will lay their late son Michael to rest in the Livingston Cemetery, which had gone to seed after Dreher grew too old to tend it.

The 113-year-old graveyard is where Dreher's mother, Dolly, was buried after she died of heart failure at 36 in 1932. The 2-acre graveyard is on the edge of Camp Bonneville near Dreher's boyhood home. In the 1920s, he caught trout in Lacamas Creek nearby and often dropped in to visit moonshiners and the old tobacco drying shed that stood in the trees.

His grandparents, George and Mary Munsell Dreher, and his uncle, Augustus I. Dreher, also are buried there, along with several of his cousins. They rest near an unknown Union soldier from the Civil War, whose gravestone is marked "Yankee Doodle," and the first postmaster of Proebstel, Andrew Helms, who died in 1912.

Because of all that family history, Dreher said he and Harriet, 83, would like to bury the ashes of their son, Michael, between the grandparents' graves and Dreher's mother. Michael, of Long Beach, died of a heart attack just before Easter at age 59.

No one has been buried in the cemetery since 1934. Yet, until the 1990s, the family and neighbors kept the burial plot looking good.

Dreher remembers tending the graves on Decoration Day as early as 1923, and taking his two sons, Michael and Philip, to cut grass and trim the graves in the 1960s. But in recent years, as the old-timers died, the cemetery grass grew ragged, the graves sank and the stones tilted. Some folks even threatened to cut the trees around the cemetery.

Dreher loudly objected, but he's crippled with heart problems, the aches and pains of aging and a broken arm. He hasn't been able to tidy up the graveyard himself or find allies to do it. Dreher wanted to see the cemetery preserved. It was just a question of who was going to take care of it. The buck was passed a bit before the county officials took up the cause.

The land was deeded to the county by Dreher's relative, Henry Munsell, in 1894. The county listed the plot as one of several tax-exempt public cemeteries in the county that have no clear rules of upkeep. The plot lay within Clark County Cemetery District 1, based in Camas.

Published Monday, October 01, 2007 BY DEAN BAKER, Columbian staff writer


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  • Created by: Kay and Duane Douglass
  • Added: 8 Mar 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 49441541
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ralph George Dreher (9 Jan 1918–28 Apr 2014), Find A Grave Memorial no. 49441541, citing Livingston Cemetery, Proebstel, Clark County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Kay and Duane Douglass (contributor 47176403) .