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Hertel, Ralph  
Hertel, Ralph Ralph Robert Hertel, was born on July 13, 1936 and passed away on January 17, 2015 due to complications resulting from his children making him old before his time. (Ralph had a playful and irreverent outlook towards life, an attitude that he was fortunate enough to retain right up until the time of his death. This obituary is being written with that philosophy in mind. If you find this particular viewpoint offensive, then read no further. Instead, please take comfort in knowing that Ralph fought his dementia and cancer courageously right up until the very end, and that he died peacefully in his sleep.) Ralph passed away amongst the rich and famous (people who cared for him) at the VA Home in King, WI. A home with incredible views on the beautiful Chain of Lakes. He is survived by brothers, James (Kay); William and Art (Mara) Hertel, sister; Lorrie (Hutch) Hutchinson; son, Ralph (Robby); and daughters, Rachel Ratz, Patricia (John) Bruckner and Sharon (Carole) Hertel; grandchildren, Stephanie (Mark), Joseph, Leslie, Toni (Adam); great-grandchildren; Blake, Riley, Morgan, Jordan, Evan and Jackson. Preceded in death by sisters Margie and Marie; sister-in-law, Barbara and brother-in-law, Robert. Over the years, Ralph had many jobs in the hospitality industry. He owned and operated the Uptown Café with his ex-wife Vita and later bought the Hotel Chilton. Ralph also served his country in the Navy as a covert spy, stationed out in Monterey, CA. During the Korean War he was largely responsible for orchestrating a daring amphibious assault on Inchon, a port on the western coast of Korea. Having made the landing, MacArthur crushed the North Korean army in a pincer movement and captured Seoul; (that's the way he told it). Ralph was also very active as a Rotarian and with the Chilton Chamber of Commerce. In his younger years in Chilton, WI, he was known to selflessly give of his time letting ladybugs go on the Manitowoc River to curb the mosquito population. He also served as a mentor to young people by burying bags of oregano to see what the local police would do. He got the Chief of Police a couple of times, from what we understand. Ralph also was active in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chilton where he served as an usher. He had an uncanny way of getting more tithes by simply shaking the collection basket in front of parishioners' (particularly his brothers, Jim and Bill). Ralph told of being abducted by Al Capone several times during his life, and was forced to engage in legal drugs, such as alcohol. Oddly, Ralph never really complained much about these kidnappings until the summer of 1994. His sobriety was everything to him. Ralph sponsored many men that also had been abducted by legal and illegal drugs. Ralph would take calls at all hours and days to help all people and while still driving, take them to meetings. Ralph's favorite bit of advice was "progress not perfection". Ralph practiced these principles in all his affairs for his last 20 years. Ralph was adamant that people use the occasion of his passing to remember and celebrate his life. In lieu of formal funeral proceedings or viewing hours, he requested that those who remember and cared for him share both a special memory and a donation to the VA Hospital in King, WI, or any VA in their area. There will be a celebration of Ralph's life, and military honors beginning at 1 PM on July 11th 2015 at the Veterans Memorial in Chilton, WI.
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Published in Fond du Lac Reporter on Jan. 25, 2015
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