Richard Bassett Ragland 1924-2019
Ragland, Richard Bassett, aged 94, died peacefully in his home on February 13, 2019. Richard was preceded in death by his parents, and by his brother, John Elliott Ragland, M.D. and his sister-in-law Maybelle Nalley Ragland. Richard is survived by his nephew, Richard B. Ragland II of Godfrey, Illinois; his niece, Jennie Ragland of Webster Groves, Missouri; and cousins Howard Short, M.D., F.A.C.S., Phyllis Short Jeter, both of Chesterfield, Missouri, and his Godson, Samuel Mudd, III of Red Bluff, California. He leaves behind many dear friends as well.
Richard Bassett Ragland a.k.a. Uncle Dick to many, was born in New York City to Grace Grimes Ragland and Reginald (Reg) Ragland on March 28, 1924. Though he spent his early years in New York City, he called Paris, Missouri, home.
Due to childhood illnesses, and his parents divorce, Dick attended a variety of public schools in warm climates to aid his health. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California, in 1941. He enrolled in Princeton University in the Fall of 1941, but had his college career cut short upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Army, and upon completion of basic training, was sent to the European Theatre.
He traveled to Europe on the Queen Mary, which had been converted to a Troop Ship, and held 10,000 persons. The ship traveled in a zig zag pattern in an effort to avoid German U Boat torpedoes. Upon arrival in England, Richard was billeted in London on Green Street, adjacent to Hyde Park. At the tender age of 19, he was assigned the highest security clearance at that time, BIGOT, which stood for British Invasion of German Occupied Territory. With his security clearance, Richard was assigned to the staff of General Omar Bradley, as an aerial photograph interpreter for Operation Overlord. Richard went ashore at Normandy, along with General Bradley and the rest of the staff on June 6, 1944. He remained on General Bradley’s staff through four more campaigns: Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe earning EAMET Campaign Medal with (5) Bronze Service Stars and the rank of Staff Sergeant. Richard was honorably discharged on October 9, 1945.
He returned to Princeton in February of 1946, where he picked up his studies as a sophomore, graduating Cum Laude in 1948. Princeton students retained their original class year, despite the interruption of WWII and he is listed as a member of the Princeton University Class of 1945. During his time at Princeton, Richard was a member of the Triangle Club, Whig-Clio, Dial Lodge, and was inducted in to Phi Beta Kappa. On the 50th Anniversary of his graduating class, Richard wrote, “I had roommates in classes of ’45, ’46, and ’49. Then attended Harvard Law School, where I knew more Class of ’45 men than when at Princeton.”
After Princeton, Richard followed his father, Reginald Ragland, General Counsel for Sinclair Oil and later, Atlantic Richfield Oil, and his grandfather, William T. Ragland, Supreme Court Justice - State of Missouri, in to the field of Law. Richard attended Harvard University and received his Juris Doctor in 1950 and passed the California Bar in 1951. He began his law career with O’Melveny & Myer’s in Los Angeles. As a young lawyer, he participated in the longest trial in the history of California jurisprudence, a 3 year affair in Santa Barbara County between 2 oil companies over property rights. He had many prominent clients, the most prominent of whom was Doris Duke, the wealthiest woman in the world, at the time. He was active in the Beverly Wilshire Christian Church, teaching Sunday School and acting as the Voice of God in the Maundy Thursday service. He was also active as a Big Brother.
Richard returned to Missouri in 1972, following the Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake of 1971. He and his mother took up residence in Chesterfield, Missouri. He joined the Webster Groves Christian Church, where he met Dick Marshall, who made him a partner in his new law firm, Marshall, Littman, and Ragland, in Clayton, Missouri. Dick taught Sunday School at Webster Groves Christian Church and later at Community Christian Church in Manchester, Missouri. He joined the Salvation Army Advisory Board at the encouragement of Dr. Raymond McAllister and Mrs. Herman (Phenie) Pott, and remained an active Board member for many years. Richard also belonged to the English Speaking Union, The Pachyderms, and was a member of the St. Louis Club. He is an Elder Emeritus of Community Christian Church/Disciples of Christ and will forever be remembered as the Voice of God.
Services: Funeral service at Community Christian Church, 623 Meramec Station Road, Manchester Missouri, Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Luncheon will be served after the service. Graveside service at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Paris, Missouri, on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Richard B. Ragland to Beverly Farm Foundation, 6300 Humbert Road, Godfrey, Illinois 62035 or to the Dr. Groves B. Smith Guardianship Corporation, c/o John Hilgert, 6300 Humbert Road, Godfrey, Illinois 62035, where his nephew resides. Visitation at the church, Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. until time of service. A service of the SCHRADER Funeral Home and Crematory. Friends may sign the family's on-line guestbook at Schrader.com.
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