Ralph Wilbur Lawrence Doering, 92, of Silver Spring, Md., and formerly of Vandalia, died on Friday, Nov. 28, 2008, at Riderwood Retirement Community in Silver Spring.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Riderwood Community Chapel in Silver Spring, Md. Burial will be in Union Cemetery in Spencerville, Md. Memorials: Macular Degeneration Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, Md., 20871, or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, Mass., 01202.
Mr. Doering was born on Oct. 9, 1916, in Stamford, Neb., the son of the Rev. Emil and Christine Doering. He married Lois Ehrhardt on Oct. 26, 1944, at Luther Place Memorial Church; she died on July 27, 2005.
His family lived in Salem, N.D., in the early 1920s and moved in 1923 to Vandalia, where his father served as pastor at St. James Lutheran Church until his death on Dec. 24, 1929. His mother lived in Vandalia until 1973, when she moved to California Lutheran Homes in Alhambra, Ca. Mr. Doering graduated from Vandalia High School in 1934, and during the time he lived in Vandalia, he worked at several different jobs, including delivering newpapers, bundling shingles at Ford Roofing Co., working as a pattern boy at Johnson, Stephens & Shinkle Shoe Factory and doing office work for Fayette Service cooperative. During the years his mother lived in Vandalia, he visited two or more times a year. He was last in Vandalia in May of this year, visiting at St. James Lutheran Church and with friends. He graduated from Cathage College in 1938, taught school in Missouri for one year, then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the federal government. He joined the Navy in 1942, serving during World War II as an engineering officer aboard LST 484 in the Pacific and then as an instructor for the Navy at Cornell University until his retirement in 1946. He returned to Washington to work as a civil engineer for the Bureau of Public Roads until his retirement in 1971. He and his wife were married at Luther Place Memorial Church four years after meeting at the church. Family, friends and the church were important to him, and he enjoyed traveling, gardening, genealogy and dominoes.
He is survived by children, Christine D. and her husband Charles R. Ellin of Virginia Beach, Va., and Ronald W. Doering of Silver Spring, Md.; brothers, the Rev. Edgar A. Doering and his wife Rozell of Sun City West, Ariz., the Rev. Paul O. Doering and his wife Dorcas of Overland Park, Kan., and John T. Doering and his wife Joan of San Diego, Calif.; brother-in-law, Chaplain Ross H. Trower; grandchildren, Rebecca C. Ellin of Morehead City, N.C., Jennifer Ellin and her husband Jeff Pierce of Roswell, Ga., and Brian C. Ellin of Portland, Ore.; great-grandchildren, Logan R. Pierce and Hayden D. Pierce of Roswell, Ga.; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife and sister, Margaret Doering Trower.