Ralph J. Baringer, 88, of Defiance, Ohio, passed away Monday, January 28, 2013.
Ralph was born on October 6, 1924, in Defiance, Ohio, the son of Ralph V. and Emma G. (Stork) Baringer. He attended St. John Lutheran School during grades one through eight and was a 1942 graduate of Defiance High School. He attended Catholic University, Washington D.C.
He was a decorated soldier and expert infantryman having served his country in World War II as a member of the Greatest Generation. He served in the 102nd Infantry Division in the Rhineland and Central European Campaign. He was honorably discharged in March of 1946 as a technical sergeant.
His military memberships include the VFW 3360; life member of Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Legion and Ohio State Veterans Service Commissions; officer for 18 years on the Veterans Commission; member of the War Memorial Committee of Defiance County and Soldiers Relief Commission, Defiance, Ohio; life member of DAV; and a member of the Herbert E. Anderson American Legion Post 117.
As a businessman and entrepreneur, Ralph co-owned and operated the Baringer Food Center from 1946-78. He and his brother, Ronald, also partnered to develop Baringer Addition in the late 1950s and early 60s with their business called Suburban Homes.
During the 1950s and 60s, Ralph's love for kids and baseball led him to coach the Bolley Little League team for nine years. After helping with the Defiance Baseball Association as coach and member, he later continued his interest in youth with Defiance College students. He helped connect DC student groups with the community, encouraging them to complete philanthropic activities and thus, earned the title of honorary member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Defiance Chapter.
Ralph observed Defiance grow and change while serving on the Defiance City Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. He was appointed by the honorable Mayor M. Ben Gaeth as city safety director (administrator of police and fire departments) from 1965-79. In 1979, he made a bid for mayor of Defiance, but was defeated in a close election. He pursued a new career in 1979 as an agent for the Ohio Department of Liquor.
Retiring in 1990 from his job with the state of Ohio, Ralph was able to enjoy time with his family and friends and also travel in the U.S. and abroad.
His lifelong membership at St. John Lutheran Church was very important to him. He served as an elder, high school Sunday school teacher, and on several committees in his lifetime, including endowment, scholarship and the stewardship committees.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Ralph V. and Emma G. (Stork) Baringer; his wife of 57 years, Jean Marie (Lambertson) Baringer; and brothers, Ronald B. Baringer and Rev. Carl W. Baringer. His surviving relatives include a loving sister, Mrs. Forrest (Wilma) Beaverson; two sons, Richard C. (Rosemary) Baringer of Warren, Ohio, and James L. (Maryellen) Baringer, Toledo, Ohio; a daughter, Mrs. Rick (Nancy) Baldwin, Defiance; and eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and loving nieces and nephews.
Family and friends may visit from 2-8 p.m. Thursday, January 31, at the Hanenkrath-Clevenger-Schaffer Funeral Home. Visitation will continue on Friday, Feb. 1, at St. John Lutheran Church, 655 Wayne Ave., one hour prior to the service. Funeral services will begin 11 a.m. in the St. John Lutheran Church, Defiance, Ohio. Interment will follow at the Riverside Cemetery with a military salute.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to St. John Lutheran School, St. John Lutheran Church or Veterans of Foreign Wars.