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Ralph Pirtle (1924-2003)

Longtime Alaska resident Ralph Booney Pirtle, 79, died August 19, 2003, at the Cordove Community Hospital in Cordova from complications of emphysema. A memorial service was held August 24, 2003 at the Elks Lodge in Cordova.

He was born July 24, 1924, in Redland, California, to Grover and Winnie Pirtle, the sixth of their eight children. He spent his youth in Arizona and California. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and servied in World War II from 1942-1945 in the Philipines.

Mr. Pirtle married Veria Weltz on June 30, 1946, in Pasadena, California. He graduated from the University of Missoula in Montana in June 1951 with a degree in Biology. He worked with the Idaho Fish and Game Department in Lewiston, Idaho, from 1953-1958. Then in July 1959, he moved to Cordova and worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as area fisheries biologist for Prince William Sound until his retirement in 1980.

He was a member of the Elks, Pioneers of Alaska, Cordova Historical Society, Cordova Senior Center, and a postal chess group. He enjoyed many hobbies such as gardening, chess, harmonica, cards and board games, square dancing, carving wooden birds and toys, hunting, sportfishing, birding and genealogy.

His family wrote: "The most important part of his life was his family and his grandchildren, who knew him as 'Besefa'."

He is survived by his brothers Jack and Bill Pirtle of Olivehurst, California; wife of 57 years, Verla Pirtle of Cordova; son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Beth Pirtle of Kodiak, and grandchildren, Geri Lynn, Jodi and Jennifer Pirtle and Brandi West; daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Fred Newirth of Cordova, and grandchildren, Fred IV and Meagan Newirth; daughter and son-in-law, Peggy and Tony Brown of Anchorage, and grandchildren, Chelsea, Shelby, Samantha and Sydney Brown.

Mr. Pirtle was preceded in death by his grandson, David Brown.

Donations may be made in Mr. Pirtle's memory to any of the following organizations: Cordova EMTs, Cordova Historical Society or the Cordova Senior Center.

Additional note from the U. S. Chess Federation (USCF): Mr. Pirtle was a Senior member of the USCF. He will be sadly missed from the chess community.