Ralph Franklin Wachter, 94, lifelong resident of Frederick, passed away November 12, 2012 at Homewood at Crumland Farms.
Born on March 6, 1918, Mr. Wachter was the son of Charles N. Wachter and Lucy E. Wachter, (nee Neidhart). In the 1920s the family resided at 108 East 2nd Street, near St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church where Ralph was a faithful member his whole life. He also attended both St John's Elementary and High Schools.
After graduating from St. John's in 1935, Mr. Wachter attended Notre Dame College in Indiana and soon became a loyal fan of Notre Dame football. He graduated from Notre Dame with honors and was accepted at Catholic University where he received his Master's degree in Chemistry.
In 1943 Mr. Wachter enlisted in the United States Army
and served during WWII
on a hospital ship as the ship's sanitation officer responsible for maintaining high levels of cleanliness and doing frequent chemical testing of the drinking water. After the war, Mr. Wachter joined the Army Reserves and by 1962 had risen to the rank of Lt. Colonel. All told, he served honorably for 30 years.
After returning from the war, Mr. Wachter married Medora M. Harrison also of Frederick. When Mr. Wachter was accepted into a Ph.D. programatPurdue University
, the young couple temporarily relocated to Indiana. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in Bio-chemistry, Mr. Wachter, his wife, and baby daughter returned to Frederick. He found good employment at Ft. Detrick, first in the Virology Department, and later at USAMARID. Ralph and Medora went on to have two more children- sons Philip, and David. All three children followed in their father's footsteps and graduated from St. John's High School.
As a boy, Ralph enjoyed collecting stamps, riding his bicycle, fishing, and occasionally riding along with his father in the car to take orders and make deliveries for the family wholesale business, Wachter Brothers. Sunday mornings Ralph often served mass as an altar boy and resumed being an alter boy after retiring.
While at college, Ralph took up tennis, and soon became quite a good doubles player. He enjoyed tennis so much that he played once or twice a week, nearly every week of his life, weather per- mitting, until he was 88.
Besides tennis, the other great pleasure for both Ralph and Medora was spending time with friends. Ralph and a large group of close child- hood friends socialized every Saturday night. They also vacationed each summer in Ocean City, MD. At the annual Christmas party the "Saturday Night Crowd"always exchanged funny gifts that were accompanied by a humorous, rhyming verse.
Over the years Mr. Wachter volunteered in many capacities for his beloved St John's Church and schools. In 1972 he was the first President of the Board of Directors of St. John's High School at Prospect Hall on Butterfly Lane. On June 3, 2005, Ralph F. Wachter was presented with the Distinguished Graduate Award honoring his years of generous service to Catholic Education and his lifelong accomplishments as a gradu- ate of St. John Regional Catholic School. Additionally, Mr. Wachter found time to volunteer one afternoon a week at the food bank.
In the end a strong religious faith, a love of tennis, and a love of family and friends were the core of Ralph Wachter's life and the secret of his long life. He was grateful for all that he had in this life, and all who knew him were impressed by both his kind heart and his sharp mind.
Mr Wachter was pre- deceased by older brother, Holmes Wachter at age 7, niece Theresa Unglesbee, and wife Medora in 1995. Mr. Wachter is survived by his three children and five grand- children: Victoria Wachter Seward and her sons Alex and Andrew; Philip Neidhart Wachter, and David Harrison Wachter with his wife Mary Baker, and their three chil- dren, Amanda, Benton and Zachery who reside in Wolfsville. Also surviving are Mr. Wachter's sister, Mary Caroline Unglesbee, age 102, niece Martha Figlioli and husband, Ken in California, and nephew, Holmes Unglesbee, and his wife, Glenna, who reside in Libertytown.
The family will receive friends at the Keeney and Basford Funeral Home at 106 E. Church Street in Frederick on Sunday, November 18th from 2-4 p.m., and from 6-8 p.m. A Roman Catholic Funeral Mass will be cele- brated at 11 a.m. on Monday, November, 19, 2012 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 112 E. 2nd Street. Internment with military honors will follow at St. John's Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memo- rial donations may be made to St. John's Catholic Prep for scholarships or to support construction at the new Buckeystown campus.
Online condolences may be expressed at keeneybasford.com