Sioux County

Ralph Heumphreus





Mrs. Mae Heumphreus received word this week concerning the death of her son, Coxswain Ralph Heumphreus, which occurred on the USS Erben in the Pacific last August 12.

The fuel line in the fan tail of the ship had broken when oil was being taken from another ship and thus the oil spread to the bulk heads, according to the report.  Ralph was given the command to go to the paint storage deck, three decks below the fuel line, to get some pails to be used in cleaning up the oil.  He made one trip alright, but on his second trip he was overcome by the gas and paint fumes. About the same time there was a command given to rig the ship for bad weather and when a check was made of the men, Ralph was missing.

A search was made and he was found in an unconscious condition. Doctors and their assistants worked over him five hours, but their efforts were futile.

Coxswain Heumphreus was given a military burial at sea.

Mrs. Heumphreus previously received a letter of condolence from Lieut. Commander W. J. Snyder.  Enclosed in this letter was a sizeable check for her, a voluntary contribution of Ralph’s friends and shipmates.

Source: Hawarden Independent, October 4, 1945