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Ralph Douglas Named Westfield's Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal

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The Westfield Memorial Day Parade Committee is proud to announce Ralph Douglas as this year’s Grand Marshal.

With a warm and endearing manor, Ralph depicts a life filled with an emphasis on family, hard work and dedication to American values. 

Born in July, 1927 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a small mill town suburb of Pillsbury Ralph attended grammar school. Then in 1939 at the age of 12, his family moved to a small thirteen acre farm in Ligonier, Pennsylvania where he attended a one room country school house. He graduated high school in Ligonier.

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When Ralph turned 17, he wanted to join the Navy but his parents insisted on waiting until his brothers Leonard, a paratrooper and Harlan, a navigator on a B17 with 37 missions in Europe, came home from the service. Ralph did join the Navy and served from 1945 to 1946. He will never forget his last day in boot camp when the Japanese surrendered. The war was over! Ralph, however, was deployed to the Philippines as a Storekeeper 3rd Class for the management of warehousing and naval operations on the island of Samar.

In 1951 he received a commission in the Naval Reserves and, in that year he also graduated from the University of Pittsburg with a Business Finance Degree.  

Ralph was recruited into the General Electric Finance program working first in Syracuse, New York where he met his future wife. Ralph worked for G.E. in their financial department for defense electronics and corporate auditing. General Electric’s computer division merged with Honeywell where Ralph worked for a while.  He then came back to G.E. to work in their jet engine business. His career necessitated a number of moves cross country.

Ralph married June Powers of Syracuse in 1953. June passed away in 2007. They had four children, Paul, Keith, Barbara and Jackie who passed away in 1992. Ralph and June have two grandchildren, Kyle who will graduate from Princeton this year and Lyndsay, a graduate of George Washington University.

Ralph retired from General Electric in 1987. He and June lived in Syracuse until 1997 when they moved to Scotch Plains to be closer to their children.

Ralph continues to “serve” his country. He is a life member of the V.F.W., served as financial officer for the American Legion Post 3 in Westfield and is still active with the Elks, Masons Shriners and a proud member of the Scottish Rights.

Ralph was a crossing guard at Terrill Middle School for 10 years.

The Parade Committee congratulates Ralph on the well-deserved honor as this year’s Grand Marshal.

The parade committee would like to “remember” veterans of all wars who have passed away since last Memorial Day.  Please contact Stan at 908-233-2767 or srcuba@comcast.net with their name, branch of service and conflict, i.e., WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm or action in the Far East.         

The annual Westfield Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for Monday, May 25, 2015.  Opening ceremonies will start at 9 a.m. with services at the World War I Veterans Memorial Monument at North Avenue and East Broad Street Plaza.  Participants are requested to be in the Lord & Taylor West parking lot by 8 a.m.

After opening ceremonies, the parade route will go north on East Broad Street, straight up to Fairview Cemetery where the Veterans of Foreign Wars will have closing ceremonies.

Soft drinks will be available for all participants at Fairview Cemetery after conclusion of the parade.

All Westfield organizations are invited to march in this year’s parade.

The parade committee urges organizations or individuals to march in the parade, sponsor a wreath to be placed at the Monument or make a financial contribution to the parade committee to help offset the costs of running the parade.

The Westfield Memorial Day Parade is sponsored by the American Legion Martin Wallberg Post #3 and the Town of Westfield.

If there are any questions, please call Stan Cuba at 908-233-2767.

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