Ralph R. Dickinson, 86, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY — Ralph R. Dickinson, of 21427 County Route 63, Watertown, NY passed away peacefully at home, May 25, 2018, surrounded by his family.

Among his survivors are a daughter Debbie and son in law Herbert Cox, a son Michael, two grandchildren Ian, Nairobi, Kenya and Sierra Cox, Union Springs, NY and one great grandson Cody Cox, Harrisville, NH. A brother Kenneth in Berlin, New Hampshire, two sisters in law, Mrs. Dorothy Andrus of Black River and Mrs. Jean Andrus of Rutland, several nieces and nephews.

A brother, Francis, and a grandson, Seth J. Cox, predeceased him.

He was born at home in Berlin, New Hampshire on November 17, 1931, the son of the late Frederick W. and Dorina J. Dickinson. He graduated from Berlin High School in 1949 and immediately enlisted in the United States Army.

He received his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. Upon completion of training he was transferred to Fort Bragg, NC to attend the Physical and Athletic Instructor Course. Upon graduation he was assigned to the US Army Occupation Force in Japan. Upon arrival in Japan he was assigned as Athletic and Recreational NCO for the 1st Battalion, Eighth Cavalry Regiment (Infantry) of the 1st Cavalry Division (Infantry).

At the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, he was transferred to the 24th Infantry Division and landed in Korea on the 4th of July, 1950 and was assigned to the hastily formed 3rd Battalion of the 34th Infantry Regiment. Later when the 34th Infantry Regiment was deactivated he later was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion of the 38th Infantry regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. He participated in the first six major battles of the Korean War.

Among his Awards and Decorations are the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Campaign Medal with 6 Major Battle Stars, the United Nations Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Promoted to Sergeant he returned to the United States in August 1951 and was assigned to Fort Drum (then Pine Camp). He married Sally L. Andrus on September 6, 1952. They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on October 18, 2002. Mrs. Dickinson passed away on January 4, 2005.

In December 1952, he was transferred to the United States Forces in Austria. He was assigned as Platoon Sergeant of the Heavy Machine Gun Platoon of Company M, 350th Infantry regiment in Salzburg, Austria. Sergeant Dickinson was selected to attend USFA Tactical Command NCO Academy in Linz, Austria. He graduated as a Honor Student and was promoted to Sergeant First Class.

He returned with his wife and daughter to the United States in July 1955 and was assigned to 11th Armored Calvary Regiment at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In February 1957 he was named the Solder of the Month for the United States Army Training Center. He was selected to attend the Armor Advanced NCO Course at the United States Armor School. He graduated with honors and was awarded the Armor Leadership Award for his class. He was promoted to Master Sergeant in August 1957.

Upon reenlistment in 1958 he applied for and was accepted to attend Radar repair Course at the United States Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Upon graduation of the nine month course he was assigned as a Supervisory Radar Instructor of the Radar Division of the United States Army Signal School.

In 1960, he was selected to attend a four month Classified Equipment Course conducted by Hazeltine Corporation and upon graduation he was assigned to operate a Tri-Service Test Site in Swansea, Mass. He operated the test site for a year. Upon completion of the test he was assigned to the United States Electronic Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, NJ as an Assistant Project Engineer.

Selected to attend a Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Course at Fort Dix, NJ, he graduated the course as the top in his class.

In 1965 he was selected to attend Hawk Missile Radars Course at the US Air Defense School at Fort Bliss, TX and upon graduation he was assigned to the Operational Readiness Evaluation team of the 2nd Missile Battalion of the 71st Artillery in Korea.

Returning to the United States in 1966 he was assigned as Section Chief of the IFF Section of the Radar Course of the US Army Signal School in Forth Monmouth, NJ. He was promoted to super grade Master Sergeant (E-8) in 1967.

He retired from the United States Army on August 1, 1969. He was employed as a Field Engineer for Raytheon Electronics and later as an Electronics Instructor for Sanders Associates.

In 1971 his family decided to return to Watertown, NY. In 1975 he sought and was elected Supervisor of the Town of Watertown. He was elected to eight consecutive 2-year terms of office. His first year in office he reversed a deficit to a surplus. While in office he authorized a comprehensive Personnel Policy, a Recycling Procedure and Policy Law. He initiated the Codification of all town laws, regulations, and resolutions and set up a procedure to update the new Town Code on an annual basis. In 1978 he graduated from Jefferson Community College with an associates of science degree in Business Administration. From 1992-1994 he was the Town of Watertown Deputy Clerk.

Ralph, or Dick, as he was known by many, was a very organized and thorough man; described by his son as a “self-made man”. Once when asked by his young grandson what he liked to do best, he thought for a moment then replied, “fix things”. Serious, yet fun loving and talkative, he suffered a major debilitating stroke one year ago, yet kept up with world events and the Red Sox. This great man was devoted to his family and will be greatly missed by them. We are so thankful we were able to care for him at his home and have him with us a little while longer.

There will not be any funeral or calling hours. The body will be cremated. A committal service will be held at Maple Hill Cemetery, Rutland, NY, date and time to be announced. Arrangements are with D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Boys Town, 14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010 or to the Town of Watertown Ambulance Squad, 18535 US  Route 11, Watertown, NY 13601.

Condolences may be made to www.dlcalarco.com.