Ralph A. Letersky Sr., 87, passed away Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Buffalo, New York following a short illness.
He was born Dec. 25, 1925 in Dunkirk, NY, the son of the late John and Frances (Mackowiak) Letersky.
Ralph attended Dunkirk Industrial High School and was a WW II Combat Veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS LST 701 and USS Shakori. He earned the American Theater Medal, Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal 3 Stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon 1 Star, and a C.O. Commendation.
After the war he courted and married the love of his life, the late Theresa Bialaszewski and together they raised four children, their primary residence being Dunkirk, NY.
A Nuclear Fabrication Metallurgical Quality Control Engineer, Ralph had a lengthy career that resulted in his work taking him to such countries as Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, USSR, Kuwait, Brazil, and Japan, as well as stateside in California, Utah, Illinois, New York City, Seattle and Texas. Among his many projects, he worked on the prototype Stealth B-2 Bomber at Boeing in Seattle, a nuclear reactor in Kobe, Japan for C.F. Braun-Phillips that shipped to Australia, and the Alaskan Pipeline.
The son of a commercial fisherman, he loved to fish and was well schooled in the nuances of fishing in Lake Erie. Also an avid hunter, his last deer kill was at the age of 83. He especially enjoyed in these latter years his hunting trips to lodges in Cherry Creek and Pennsylvania. Ralph was an avid racing pigeon fancier for many years and a member of the Dunkirk Racing Pigeon Club.
His memberships also included Blessed Mary Angela Parish, American Legion Post 62, Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, and Moniuszko Social Club.
His cheerful persona was colored by his stories, of which he had many, ranging from his boyhood, to his time in the Navy to his work travels. He leaves behind a plethora of tales and "Ralphism's" that will be lovingly repeated and remembered by his family and close friends.
Survivors include three children, Ralph A. (Nancy) Letersky and Kevin A. Letersky, both of Dunkirk, and Charmaine (William) Szczerbacki of Fredonia; five grandchildren, Jason, Jacob and Jenna Letersky, Kellie and Ryan Szczerbacki; one great-grandson, Ty Shults, of whom he was dearly fond; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife, Theresa (Bialaszewski) in 1999, and daughter, Deborah Ann, in 1971; sisters Mildred Giordano, Ethel Fancher, Evelyn Neubauer, Eileen Bennett, and brothers Jack and Edmund.
Funeral arrangements are by the Newman Funeral Home Inc., 201 South Zebra Street, Dunkirk. Friends and family may call Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 and 7:00 - 9:00 P.M. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. Monday at Blessed Mary Angela Parish - St. Hyacinth's Church. Interment at St. Hyacinth's Cemetery to follow with Military Honors.
Memorials may be made in care of the Willow Lodge Hospice Ward, Buffalo V.A. Hospital, 3495 Bailey Ave., Buffalo, NY 14215.