Welton Ralph Abell – Colonel, United States Marine Corps

Colonel Abell, who was called Ralph, was a recipient of the Navy's second-highest decoration – for combat valor in the Korean War.

Colonel Abell was a seasoned Marine veteran of the Saipan campaign in the Pacific in World War II and a reserve first Lieutenant when he was recalled to active duty with the Third Marine Infantry Battalion of St. Louis shortly after North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950.

Painfully wounded in the shoulder during a heavy enemy counterattack at the Changjin reservoir, Colonel Abell refused medical attention and regrouped his depleted company to fight off an attempted encirclement. He led his men up a steep hillside in a blinding snowstorm.

He got the Navy Cross at a dinner at the Chase Hotel here. The next year, he married Margaret Minot of Beverly Hills, California, whom he met on his way to Korea.

Earlier, in 1943, he was studying journalism and advertising at the University of Missouri at Columbia when he enlisted in the Marines. The service sent him to the University of Notre Dame for ROTC training.

After the war, he got his degree at Mizzou and went to work writing advertising copy for the Barry-Wehmiller Machinery Co. here. He went to California in 1955 and sold television network advertising time. He retired in 1989.

A memorial service in San Clemente is pending. As a Marine Corps Reserve colonel, he will receive a full-honors military burial at Arlington National Cemetery.


In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Scott Abell of Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Michael Abell of San Clemente; two sisters, Betty Ullrich of Crestwood and Helen Schicker of Affton; and four grandchildren.

United States Marine Corps

  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/17/1922
  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/26/1998

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