Ralph Leo Dudley
November 11, 1921 - May 7, 2018
Ralph Leo Dudley, age 96, of Pascagoula, passed away peacefully in Singing River Hospital May 7th, 2018. He was born in Beaufort, North Carolina on November 11, 1921 to Ollie Tatum Dudley and Eugene Dudley. In July of 1940, Ralph enlisted into the Coast Guard and was instantly entered into the European theatre of World War II. He was a 2BM (Second class Boats mate). His ship was the USCGC Algonquin (WPG-75) a 165 foot Cutter with about 100 crew members which went on convoy escorts to Greenland. Ralph was stationed in Greenland when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He was a combat Veteran of the Coast Guard during WWII (Coast Guard Battle of the North Atlantic convoy duty and Greenland patrol) and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for risking his life to save 19 men in the North Atlantic. Since the medals have been established throughout the services, less than 7,000 have been awarded this honor. After his service, Ralph came to Pascagoula while fishing commercially where he met and married Eley Mae Burnham Ryan. They were married for 42 years until her death in 1990. After commercial fishing, Ralph went to work at Ingalls Shipbuilding where he retired after 27 years. Ralph was an active member of First Baptist Church of Pascagoula where he enjoyed fellowshipping in choir, Sunday school, and worship services. Ralph loved traveling, building things, tinkering with electronics, singing in the choir, listening to music, learning more about the Bible, and spending time with family and friends.
Ralph was a loving spouse, caring father, and sweet grandfather. He fought every day of his life for our country and for his family. He lived life enjoying the small things; such as, looking out his window to see the beautiful birds that would appear, completing crosswords in the paper, and indulging in chocolate treats. He blessed the people who came into his life with many words of wisdom, kind smiles, and laughter. Not a day will go by where he is not missed by the lives he has touched.
He is preceded in death by his late wife, Eley Mae Burnham Ryan Dudley and loving companion Rita Necaise; two brothers, Harold Gray Dudley and Allen Dudley.
Ralph is survived by his two sisters, Alice Gray Dudley Weeks and Sylvia Jean Dudley Garner of North Carolina. His 3 children: Ron (Jea) Dudley, Juliana (Tom) Ehlers, and Lili (Jim) Wolfe. His 10 grandchildren: Victoria (Garrett) Dudley, Juli (Michael) Collum, Samantha (Michael) Dudley, Jeremy (Dannielle) Ehlers, Scott Ehlers, Anna Ehlers, J Wolfe, Ben Wolfe, Sarah Wolfe, and Jarrad Wolfe. He is also survived by his 8 great grandchildren: Ian Dudley, Liam Kuppersmith, Nolan Kuppersmith, Taylor Grace Ehlers, Eley Louise Hatcher, Baylee Collum, Riley Collum, Noah Wolfe, and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at First Baptist Church of Pascagoula, MS, from 10:00am-11:00am. Funeral Service will be at First Baptist Church at 11:00am with Graveside Service immediately following the funeral at Machpelah Cemetery. Dr. Jay Cook will be officiating. Condolences may be expressed with the options below.