Ralph Shafter, 63

LAOTTO — Ralph E. Shafter, 63, of rural Laotto, died at 3:20 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, at his home.He was born March 23, 1948, a son of Richard L. and Evelyn A. Shafter.His formative years were spent at the family home on Shriner Lake.He graduated from Columbia City Joint High School in 1966.Ralph proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy.His service included a tour in Vietnam where he was awarded a Purple Heart medal and the Bronze Star with a combat V for Valor.He retired from the U.S. Postal Service.Ralph’s passion in life was fishing with family and friends, especially the grandchildren. He cherished the bonds that were formed while catching fish.Surviving relatives include his wife, Dianna “D”; a daughter, Rachelle Diane Richey of Angola; four grandchildren, Nathan Hunter, Samantha Hunter, Laurel Richey and Paul Richey; a great-granddaughter, Aaliyah Berry; his mother, Evelyn Shafter of Warren; and three brothers, David L. Shafter of Fort Wayne, Richard P. Shafter of Shriner Lake and Kirk A. Shafter of Big Lake.He was preceded in death by his father and a sister, Linda Sue Shafter.A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on March 23, 2012, at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City with Chaplain Cheryl Schmidt of Heartland Hospice officiating.Military honors will be presented by the Whitley County Korean War Veterans Honor Guard.Preferred memorials are to Heartland Hospice.Condolences may be sent to www.smithandsonsfuneralhome.com.