Ralph Edward Plagens, Sr.

Male 1920 - 2013  (93 years)


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  • Name Ralph Edward Plagens 
    Suffix Sr. 
    Born 22 Feb 1920  Kurten, Brazos County, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 Jul 2013  Somerville, Burleson County, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Evangelical United Church of Christ Cemetery - Lyons, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4523  Cody LeBlanc's Family Tree
    Last Modified 6 May 2016 

    Family E.G. German 
    Children 
    +1. J.G. Plagens
     2. R.E. Plagens, Jr.
    Last Modified 6 May 2016 
    Family ID F1825  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Ralph Edward Plagens, Sr.
    Ralph Edward Plagens, Sr.
    Obituary picture
    Ralph Edward Plagens, Sr.
    Ralph Edward Plagens, Sr.

  • Notes 
    • Obituary:

      Funeral services for Ralph E. Plagens, Sr., 93, of Somerville, are set for 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2013 at the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Lyons, with Rev. Darrin Holub officiating. Interment will follow in the Church Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Friday July 12, 2013 at Strickland Funeral Home in Somerville.

      Mr. Plagens died Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at Crestview Nursing Facility in Bryan.

      Ralph was born February 22, 1920 in Kurten, Texas, the son of Adolph and Lillie (Hood) Plagens. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1942 and served his country in the United States and in Europe until 1945. He worked as a tug boat captain for 35 years and he enjoyed fishing and playing dominos. He was a faithful member of Evangelical United Church of Christ in Lyons.

      He is preceded in death by his parents and 3 brothers, and 1 sister.

      Survivors include his children, Sandra and her husband, Kenneth Reese of Houston, Peggy and her husband, David Melton of Spring, Cynthia and Bruce Bergthold of Illinois, Leah Plagens of Bryan, Jennifer Davis and Gary Bachert of Somerville, Richard Dennington, and Ralph Plagens, Jr., both of Somerville; his brothers and sisters in-law, Adolph and Doris Plagens of Lexington and Raymond Plagens of Kurten; his sisters, Irene Gosney of Trinity and Evelyn Williams of New Ulm; along with a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and numerous other relatives.

      Family members have requested that memorials be made to Evangelical United Church of Christ, P. O. Box 440, Lyons, TX 77863 or Hospice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Strickland Funeral Home in Somerville.

      We invite you to visit our website and sign the online register book for Ralph E. Plagens, Sr.

    • Ralph E. Plagens, WWII Veteran

      Ralph E. Plagens will celebrate his 92nd birthday on February 22. He is quick to inform you that the Good Lord has been with him all of his life. He began to realize that while serving in the Army in Italy during World War II.

      According to Plangens, "I was born on a farm near Kurten. When I was 13, my Dad became real sick and I had to drop out of school to farm so our family could survive. I never went back to school. At 17 I joined the 'Tree Army,' as the CCC was called and worked on water percolation projects in Arizona.

      "When the war broke out I was drafted and sent to Camp Sheldon in Mississippi for training. I was engaged before I left for the Army. She wanted to get married before I left and I didn't. Three days after I entered the Army, I received a 'Dear John' letter. After Mississippi I was sent to Arizona for desert training. While in training I was chosen to serve as a squad leader and I remained a sergeant until the war's end. We boarded the USS General Mann and sailed to north Africa. We weren't in Africa very long before we were shipped to Naples, Italy.

      "When we landed in Italy, I was part of Company K, 338th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division. After landing, we headed to Rome. After passing through Rome, all hell broke loose when we ran into the Germans again. We could always tell when the Germans were about to pull back because they would hit you with everything they had before retreating further north. I walked all across Italy and it seemed like I was walking up hill the whole time.

      "During my time in Italy, I was wounded three times. The first two were bandage wounds but the third one sent me home three months before the war ended. I realized the Good Lord was with me with those wounds, but there were several other incidents that proved it also. On one occasion we had been pulled off the line for food and to receive mail. One of my men received a letter and I saw tears rolling down his cheeks. I asked him if he was alright. He said his wife had given birth to his daughter which he didn't think he would live to see. About then, the Germans started shelling the area I ran and jumped in a hole. Two of my men jumped in also. It was too small for all of us so I crawled out. I was a few feet away when a shell landed in that hole killing both men. One of the men killed was the guy who had just received the letter about the birth of his daughter."

      One action recalled by Plagens resulted in him being awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. The account reads, "Sergeant Plagen's mortar section was suddenly subjected to a frontal attack by an enemy force which had succeeded in cutting off the rifle platoons of his company. Sergeant Plagens, aware of the urgent need of the support of his weapons platoon in enabling the rifle platoons to hold their positions, moved forward to an exposed position to fire upon the approaching Germans. Under fire from a machine gun, mortars and sniper fire, he engaged the enemy in a brief but furious firefight, killing two, wounding others and holding the attacking force until his rifle platoons were able to move into a position to defeat the hostile threat."

      One other incident for which Plagens was cited was being one of seven soldiers responsible for the capture of 138 Germans which included fire officers. According to Plagens, "We came under sniper fire but it didn't seem that he was really aiming at us. The sniper was located in a house and we ran down a ravine to get near the house. When we were in hearing distance, he waived a white rag he had tied on his rifle. After we took his weapon and questioned him a little we started to march him off. I guess the other Germans that were in hiding realized we weren't going to harm this guy so they came out and surrendered. They wanted the war over with just as bad as we did."

      With the Germans pushed up into the mountains Plagens sustained his third wound of the war. "I was hit by shrapnel in my back. This wound was something they couldn't patch. I eventually was sent back to the States on a hospital ship. I remained in the hospital until after the war ended and was discharged. There are pieces of the shrapnel remaining in my back, which bothers me from time to time.

      "After the war, I worked on tug boats pulling or pushing barges up and down the intercostal canal between Texas and Mississippi. After 36 years, mostly as a tug boat captain, I retired back to Brazos County."

      When asked what his military experience meant to him, Plagens responded. "When I entered the Army, I decided I wanted to become a good soldier. I think I became one. After the war I never had any bad dreams like lots of the guys did. I guess the Lord was with me on that too."

      On Valentines Day, Plagens was voted the "Valentine King" at Crestview where he now resides, which he enjoyed. As I was leaving he said, "A long life can be a lonely life when you get to be my age. But the Good Lord is still with me and will be until the end."

      (Published in the Bryan/College Station Eagle in February 2012)