OSWEGO — Ralph William Gaier, 90, of Oswego died at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010, at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin. He was in his usual health and death was not expected.
He was born Feb. 17, 1920, in Blackford County, Ind., to Elmer James and Mary Garnet (Rhoton) Gaier. He graduated from Montpelier High School in 1938. Upon completing his bachelor of science in agriculture degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., in 1942, he enlisted in the Army and served as a first lieutenant bacteriologist-serologist with the 32nd General Hospital and 188th General Hospital at Advance Headquarters prior to the invasion of Normandy. After an honorable discharge in 1946, he began his 37-year career as an educator by teaching shop and ag in Roll, Ind.
For 35 years, he was an educator in Parsons, teaching vocational agriculture at Parsons Senior High and Junior College from 1948 to 1959 where he was affectionately called “Pop” by his students. In 1960, he completed his master of arts in science education degree from Washington University in St. Louis. In 1983, he retired from Labette Community College in Parsons as the biological sciences instructor.
Gaier was active in his community, serving on numerous civic, church and academic committees. He also received numerous academic and civic awards. He was a 60-year member of the American Red Cross and had served on eight national disasters. He was a Boy Scout scoutmaster for 25 years. He was a member of Faith United Methodist Church in Parsons and First United Methodist Church in Oswego. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post No. 1022, American Legion Post No. 20, the Good Sam Camping Club and Big Brutus Inc. He was a charter member of the Neosho Valley Campers and a member emeritus of Phi Delta Kappa. He was currently active with the Oswego Lions Club and the Oswego Historical Society Board of Directors.
On Feb. 13, 1946, he married Letty Lane at Brownwood, Texas. She preceded him in death on May 18, 2003.
On Aug. 1, 2004, he married Jolene S. Mosler in Miami, Okla. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include a son, Stephen and his wife, Connie, of Clermont, Fla.; a daughter, the Rev. Diana Hill of Eureka; three grandchildren, Eric Hill and his wife, Becca, of Madison, Wis., Kelle Parks and her husband, Jeff, of Monument, Colo., and Stacy Potter of Parker, Colo.; six great-grandchildren, Maxwell Slater, Isabella and Hudson Hill, Maya Potter, Zachary and Ethan Parks; and a brother, Cary A. Gaier and his wife, Opal, of Warren, Ind.
Mr. Gaier was preceded in death by a son, Stanley Paul Gaier on Sept. 6, 2006; a brother and two sisters in childhood.
The service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church in Oswego with Pastor Robert Conway officiating. A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Robbins Cemetery west of Coffeyville. Masonic rights will be conducted by Edna Lodge No. 345, A.F.&A.M. Military honors will be provided by Coffeyville Post No. 1022 and the Coffeyville American Legion Post No. 20. The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Murdock Funeral Home at Oswego.
The family suggests memorials to Labette Community College, 200 S. 14th, Parsons.