American Veteran 09

Ralph Kennedy Park

March 19, 1933 ~ March 18, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Ralph Park Obituary

Lieutenant Colonel Ralph K. Park, United States Marine Corps (Retired) of Westminster, Maryland (formerly Pensacola, Florida) died on Monday, March 18, 2024 at Dove House in Westminster.

Lieutenant Colonel Park was born in Colorado and grew up in several states of the Southwest. He was a graduate of Durango High School in Colorado and of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He entered active duty in the Marine Corps in 1956 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1958. While serving as an instructor at Naval Air Base Pensacola, he married Elizabeth Ades. Their family now includes: daughter, Patricia A. Linville; granddaughter, Julie Anne Mora, her husband Michael Mora, and her son Alex Mora; and granddaughter Rebecca Linville, all of Westminster. He was predeceased by his son in law Joseph E. Linville.

While on active duty, LtCol Park served five years in Marine Officer recruiting activities: two years as the Marine Selection Officer in Jacksonville, Florida and three years in what was then known as the Officer Procurement Section at Headquarters, Marine Corps. He completed that tour as Head of the Section, having initiated several significant innovations in the Marine Officers Programs, including the Aviation options for the Platoon Leaders Class Program, and the PLC Civilians Pilot Training Program.

LtCol Park was Commanding Officer of two Marine Squadrons: Marine Air Base Squadron 32 at MCAS Beaufort, SC, and Marine Attack Squadron 311 during one of that squadron’s numerous tours in the Western Pacific. He proudly served as a Marine attack pilot during the Vietnam War.

While on active duty, LtCol Park earned a graduate degree in Education from the George Washington University and another in Safety from the University of Southern California. Just prior to his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1982, he served an extended tour at the Naval Safety Center where he was responsible for a comprehensive revision of the Naval Aviation Safety Program. The revision resulted in the significant saving of aircraft and lives, and was cited by the Navy and Marine Corps authorities as “a benefit to Naval Aviation for years to come.”

After his retirement from the Marine Corps, LtCol Park worked as a civilian contract ground school instructor and flight simulator instructor in the Naval Air training Command, and as a part time charter/ambulance pilot and flight instructor for Pensacola Aviation Center.

For six consecutive years, he was elected to the staff of the local Marine Corps Aviation Association Squadron, including a term as Squadron Commander.

From 1993 through 2006, he served as FAA Aviation Safety Counselor, producing and participating in FAA Aviation Safety Seminars, and serving as a guest speaker for aviation organizations and military safety standdowns. In 1995, he was selected as the first national FAA Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year. Since 2007, he has served in the FAA general aviation program as a “FAASTeam” Lead Representative. In 2007, the FAA recognized his 50 continuous years as an active pilot by awarding him the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award.

In 1997, LtCol Park initiated actions that resulted in the formation of the Pensacola Area Flight Watch, an organization supporting General Aviation interests in the area.       

He was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapters 485 and the EAA Ultralight Chapter 105, and a local poker group, to whom he leaves a well-worn set of poker chips.

He diagnosed himself as an alcoholic in 1978, and completely defeated the disease during the remainder of his life.

LtCol Park often stated he was a “God-fearing man, but not a church-going man,” and he requested that religious memorial services not be conducted in his memory.

Family will receive friends on Saturday April 6th, 2024 from 1pm-3pm at Krug Chapel at the Carroll Lutheran Village, 300 St. Luke Circle Westminster, MD 21158. In lieu of flowers, LtCol Park requested memorial contributions be made in his memory to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation at 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701-4798. Arrangements by MYERS-DURBORAW FUNERAL HOME, P.A. WESTMINSTER. Online condolences may be made to www.myersdurborawfh.com.

Here is the link for online donations:   https://webforms.aopa.org/give/544048/#!/donation/checkout       

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Services

Memorial Gathering
Saturday
April 6, 2024

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Krug Chapel @ Carroll Lutheran Village
300 St. Luke Circle
Westminster, MD 21158

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