1SG (R) Ralph Edwin “Ed” French, Jr., age 76, a resident of rural Redfield, Kansas, passed away unexpectedly, Friday, October 27, 2017, at the Mercy Hospital Emergency Room in Ft. Scott, Kansas. He was born August 11, 1941, in Ft. Scott, the son of Ralph E. French, Sr. and Goldie Abagail Campbell French.
He married Mary Ann Biles on October 3, 1958, in Miami, Oklahoma. She survives of the home. Ed attended Fort Scott schools with the Class of 1958. He graduated from Fort Scott Community College and Heating and Air Conditioning trade school at Pittsburg State University. He learned the plumbing trade while serving with the United States Navy. He owned and operated Ed French Plumbing and Heating for many years in both Spring Hill, Kansas and later in Ft. Scott. He was a Master Plumber and served as head of the Ft. Scott Plumbing Board. He also served as the first Bourbon County Emergency Preparedness Director and also worked with the Ft. Scott Community College Department of Water Management. He faithfully served with the United States military for twenty-nine years. For eight years, he served with the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 8 where he was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Port Hueneme, California and Davisville, Rhode Island. He later served for twenty-one years with the Kansas Army National Guard 891st Engineer Battalion. He retired as First Sergeant. During his time with the National Guard, he earned many awards and citations and was involved with the program that built schools and medical clinics in the underdeveloped areas of Central America. He was a member of the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 Veterans of Foreign Wars and was active with the Color Guard Unit. He was also a member of the Ft. Scott Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Ed enjoyed his cattle operation, fishing, riding his four-wheeler and spending time outdoors.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Ann, of the home; his four children, son, Tony Wendell French and wife, Patsy, of Ft. Scott, son, Michael Steven French, of Olathe, Kansas, daughter, Laura Ann Phillips and husband, Randy, of Ft. Scott and son, Daniel Glen French and wife, Rachel, of Ft. Scott and grandchildren, Jessie Marsh and husband, Zach, of Ft. Scott, Danielle Herman, of Olathe, Kansas, Ashley Keylon and husband, Jared, of Uniontown, Kansas, Tori Murphy and husband, Tim, of Ft. Scott, Rachel Burns and husband, Tommy, of Douglas, Kansas, Haley Jones, of Ft. Scott, Nic French of Wamego, Kansas and Grace French and Sophia French, both of Ft. Scott and seven great-grandchildren. Also surviving are a sister, Nancy Wimmer and husband, Phil, of Pittsburg, Kansas, two nieces, a nephew and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents, Harry and Della French and Glen and Ida Campbell.
Pastor Larry Stevicks will conduct funeral services at 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, October 31st at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery in Ft. Scott where full military honors will be provided by the United States Army. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 P.M. Monday at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the V.F.W. Color Guard or the Bourbon County Rural Fire Department and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.