Tsgt. Ralph Carl Wegner passed away peacefully with family by his side on February 15, 2019.
Tsgt Wegner, a United States Air Force Veteran, was a resident of Manteca, California. He had previously resided in Tracy, California for many years.
Born in Absorakee, Montana on October 12, 1933, Mr. Wegner was one of 4 children born to German immigrants who had settled in Russia. His parents fled Russia when the Bolsheviks overthrew Czar Nicholas, and began a genocide of the German population His parents settled in Montana. They were primarily ranchers and dairymen.
The family eventually settled on a ranch adjacent to the Yellowstone River. Ralph had fond memories of his school days in Montana that included riding a horse to school, driving a pick-up truck by age 14, and skipping school to go fishing with his brothers.
Ralph joined the Navy when he was 18. He later enlisted in the United State Air Force, where he served from 1951 to 1972. His military career included tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam. He was stationed at Air Force Bases in Oregon, California, and the Azore Island of Terceira. As a young enlisted man, he was a field medic in Korea. He remained in the medical field, and his career advanced to managing MASH units, processing wounding soldiers back to the United States, records management, and hospital administration. He retired as a Hospital Administrative Supervisor at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California.
Tsgt. Wegner received many commendations and service medals. His highest honor was a recipient of the Soldier’s Medal for Heroism. Tsgt. Wegner rescued 40 Korean civilians, including children, when a passenger train derailed from explosives detonated on a railroad bridge. The train plummeted into a ravine and caught fire. During the rescue effort, Sgt. Wegner continued to pull passengers out of the wreckage, and provide first aid, despite being badly burned himself.
Upon his Honorable Discharge from the Air Force, Mr.Wegner continued to work in hospital administration. Upon fully retiring, he continued to work part time as an on-site property manager.
Mr. Wegner was preceded in death by his first wife, Jo Anne Wegner. He is survived by his wife of eight and half years, Lucille Wegner of Manteca, California, and his children; Mikel Wegner of Atwater, California and his wife Linda Wegner; daughters, Kimberly Roberts and Kellie Anne Wegner of Vacaville, California; and Tanis Hernandez and her husband Steve Hernandez of Stockton, California. Ralph and Lucille Wegner have 22 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren.
Ralph’s friends and family will miss his legendary sense of humor, endless supply of jokes, and boundless generosity.
A memorial service will be held Monday, February 25, 2019, 10:00 am at St. Pauls Lutheran Church, 1635 Chester Drive, Tracy, California, 95376. Interment ceremony to be held at 2:00 pm San Joaquin Valley National Cemetary, Santa Nella, California.