Memorial services for Ralph Johnson will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug.13, 2011, at Union Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Mary D. D'Alessio officiating. Graveside services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, at East Sweden Cemetery with the Rev. Henry Chisholm officiating.
Ralph F. Johnson was born on Nov. 12, 1919, in East Sweden, Texas, to Charles and Mary Ellea Johnson. His parents were stock farmers in McCulloch County, Texas. He was raised on a farm in the East Sweden community along with two sisters and one brother. Ralph attended East Sweden schools and later he enlisted in the U.S. Army, entering active service on Aug. 27, 1940. After basic training at Camp Bullis, Texas, he was transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he was assigned to Co. A, 2nd combat engineer Battalion. Co. A received extensive training for about two years along with other units of the 2nd Army at Fort Sam Houston.
After Omaha was secured, Johnson's unit, Co. A, 2nd Bn, opened holes in hedgerows, cleared mine fields, built bridges and did other engineering works in the American drive toward Germany. They went through Normandy, northern France, Belgium and Germany until the war ended. They saw action at Brest, St. Lo, Paris and other French towns and St. Vith, Belgium. They went to Germany to remove obstacles in the Seigfried Line. While in Germany Staff Sgt. Johnson was hit by Germany shrapnel.
For his service, Johnson was awarded The Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Medal, American Defense Service Medal, EAME Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars.He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal on Nov. 21, 1944, for his wounds in Belgium. He was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. While in the hospital in El Paso, with a cast on his leg, and unable to use crutches, he was married to Betty Ruth Knight. She claimed he said he couldn't run, but they lived together for 59 years until her death in January 2005. The Johnsons farmed in McCulloch County until 1970 when he retired.
Ralph F. Johnson is survived by his daughter, Karone Penn; one granddaughter, Marlene Martin; one grandson, Michael Penn; eight great-grandchildren, Rockell Tobias, Courtney Penn, Cassandra Penn, Bryan II Penn, Christopher Penn, Zachary Penn, Shay Sherbon, and Harley Martin; and one sister, Geneva Albritton.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Betty Ruth Johnson; two grandsons, Bryan and Brent; one sister, Charlotte McCartney; and one brother, Eugene Johnson.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.davismorrisfuneralhome.com.