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 Ralph Donald Thomas

Ralph Donald Thomas

Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Death 25 Oct 2010 (aged 85)
Seven Hills, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Burial Brook Park, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Plot Grave 2 Plot 2262 Section 11
Memorial ID 60629707 · View Source
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Contact Caboose34 (Lounge)

Beloved Husband of Betty J Thomas (Bearden-Buildt)
findagrave member Caboose34

Dear Father of Raymond P Buildt Jr

Son of
Anthony Thomas (deceased)
Josephine Thomas (Monaco) deceased

Brother of
George D. Thomas (Elsie) both deceased
Peter Thomas (Minnie)

Loving Grandfather of
Michelle Menne (Jonathan)
Brandalyn Rusch

Loving Great Grandfather of
Jonathan Menne
Marissa Menne
Chloe Rusch

Dearest Uncle of
Linda Vavrek (John)
Anthony Thomas
Joyce Deacon (Douglas)
Darlene Thomas
Teresa Floyd
Ralph Thomas (Desiree)
Frank Thomas (Diana)
Marjorie Breyley (Rob)
George R. Thomas (Deceased)
Virginia Kovacina (Michael)
Mary Ann Thomas

Dearly loved by all his family & friends


Ralph D Thomas

On Sept 21, 1925 in Cleveland, OH, Raffael Dominic Tomaso was born to parents Anthony & Josephine. In 1943, his name was changed to Ralph Donald Thomas.

He was the oldest of 3 sons, his 2 younger brothers being George & Peter. He enjoyed talking about his youth, often kindly referred to as "the good old days"! Back then, money was always scarce but it did include taking his brothers to the "Movie Theater" on the weekends when their father came home from working out of State. He was "Big Brother", their protector, he loved his brothers.

At the young age of 18 yrs and in the midst of World War II, Ralph was drafted into the Army. It wasn't long before they found him better suited for the Marines. He proved to be a lean-mean-fighting machine, perfect for the Marines. Never being away from home, it wasn't long before becoming home sick-this led to him become a little creative to find a way to get back home. He eventually made out his own furlough papers, not once but on three separate occasions. Ralph was very generous, he gave himself a two day pass plus another 2 weeks, signing the furlough papers Sgt John Richards!

He got busted all 3 times and sent back to the brig…it was Piss & Punk for 3 days-meals in between and was docked in pay from $50 a month to $5. That's where he learned to hammer a stone so it busted in just the right spot!

After the 3rd time he furloughed himself, they shanghide him overseas, marched him on the ship straight to Guadalcanal. He fought in Okinawa, Japan, Sugarloaf Hill, which proved to be the worst battle of WW11 resulting in 300 plus men entering this particular fight but only 18 surviving, miraculously, Ralph was one of them. Word spread quickly to the Cleveland area and not long after, a comic strip was written on Ralph's heroic battle in the Cleveland Newspaper.

"Sully" was his foxhole buddy. He too, only 18 himself. They would flip a nickel to see who would stand watch up above so the other could grab some sleep. One night, "Sully" lost, he was wounded and came rolling down the hill into Ralph's lap, dead.
With not a scratch on him, he suffered a concussion. God was watching over Ralph.

At some point in battle, he was wounded, for which he was awarded and decorated with not only the Purple Heart, but also the Silver Star. In addition, he was awarded the "Perfect Rifleman Medal". He was a Proud Marine but ever so glad to come home to family.

In 1958, he met the love of his life, wife Betty who was nicknamed "Caboose" by Son Raymond because she was always behind him. Together, they shared 52 yrs of married life. He raised Betty's son Raymond as his own. With Raymond's passing in July of this year, it broke his heart. He never recovered from losing his protector in his elder years.

Ralph always lived life to the fullest, stumbled & fell a few times in his journey, but always got back up to try again. He was a Man's Man, always there for his family and friends whatever the need in good times and in bad. Strong in his convictions, if you didn't know any better would seem a little rough around the edges, but assuredly a soft-hearted "gentle giant" for those that truly knew him well and shared in his life.

It is with great sadness for Ralph's family and friends, especially his beloved wife Betty, to suffer two great losses in this short time. May we all find comfort in knowing that Ralph is now together with Raymond in eternal life and as he so deserves, please remember this good man with love and respect.
He loved his family
He loved his friends
He loved his findagrave friends
He stood tall and proud
He loved his Country
He fought for his Country
He fought for us
Semper Fi

A special Thank you to Blair
for sponsoring Ralph's memorial

A special Thank you to
findagrave Admins for keeping the posts
of Ralph's passing on top.

A special Thank you to all of
findagrave members that have shown
their love and respect for Ralph
and the Thomas family and their Son Ray.

A special Thank you to Jil-a findagrave
member who attended Ralph's funeral and burial.

A special Thank you to Jack (cwbyht)
for the Forum Memorial for his Marine friend

A special Thank you to Ralph's ...dotter
family for their love and support

Thank you to the ARipepi&Son's
Funeral Home for care and respect
they gave Ralph's funeral with
the Marine Honors at the funeral home and Cemetery.

Family Members


  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: RThomas3780
  • Added: 25 Oct 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 60629707
  • Blair
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ralph Donald Thomas (21 Sep 1925–25 Oct 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 60629707, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .