Ralph Edgar Pletan, 83, passed away surrounded by his family on September 22, 2013, at St. Alexius Medical Center. Services will be held at 11a.m. Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, with Rev. Caranicas officiating. Interment will be at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, at 2 p.m.
Posted Sept. 27, 2013
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at Bismarck Funeral Home.
Ralph was born in Dunn Center, ND, October 7, 1929, to Rudolph and Ottilia (Gorder) Pletan. As a child, his nickname was Jens. He grew up on a farm north of Dunn Center with his four sisters and six brothers.
Times were tough in the “dirty ‘30’s.” His parents farmed the land and raised sheep and cattle. Ralph and his brothers helped his father run a threshing crew. Ralph was confirmed at the Lutheran Church in Dunn Center.
He attended Dunn Center High School, graduating in 1948. In 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force with his brother, Donald. He served during the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict.
During his exemplary service, Sergeant Pletan was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf cluster, the Outstanding Unit Award with One Oak Leaf cluster, the Good Conduct Medal with One Oak Leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal with Four Bronze Loops, the National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star, the Vietnam Service Award with Three Bronze Stars, the Longevity Service Award with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
While stationed at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, he retired after 20 years of service in April 1971.
For the next 20 years, Ralph worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier in Greeley, CO. After retiring from the USPS, he enjoyed traveling, fishing, and spending time with his family.
Ralph is survived by his daughters Elaine Pickering, England, Audrey Pletan, California, Melissa Pletan, South Carolina, and Heather Parness, Washington, D.C.; sons Dale, Thailand, Bruce, England, and Clifford, Texas; grandchildren Laura, Daniel, Geraint, Rhianydd, Sara, Alex, and Sean; brother Donald, Nebraska; sisters Phyllis Nelson, Bismarck, Joyce Peterson, Illinois, Marlys Vaagen, Taylor, and Loretta Hoversten, Wisconsin; and special friend Eva Giese, Bismarck.He was preceded in death by his parents, Rudolph and Ottilia; and his brothers Ernest, Howard, Gordon, Duane, and Owen.
Go to www.bismarckfuneralhome.com to sign the online guestbook or to send a message of condolence to the family.