JULY 16, 1923-AUG. 15, 2011
Ralph Dayton Albertazzie, 88, of Falling Waters, W.Va., died Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.
Ralph D. Albertazzie was born in Cassville, W.Va., on July 16, 1923. He graduated in 1941 from Morgantown High School, where he was an outstanding football player.
Albertazzie served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, reaching the rank of colonel. In 1968, he was selected to be the commander of Air Force One, serving President Richard Nixon. During that service, he was the first American pilot to fly into communist China during Nixon's historic trip to China. He also flew missions ferrying Henry Kissinger to Paris for the secret peace talks that led to the end of the war in Vietnam. During his service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He co-authored two books, one on the history of Air Force One and the other a novel.
Following military service, he served as West Virginia Commissioner of Commerce under Gov. Arch Moore and owned businesses in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
From 1977, he resided in Falling Waters.
Ralph was married to his high school sweetheart, Carol Jean Wilson, for 57 years. They had two daughters, Lynette Crosby (David Crosby) of Pinehurst, N.C., and Sally Albertazzie of Alexandria, Va., and two grandchildren, Michael S. Murphy and Catherine Murphy. He is survived by his half sister, Lorraine (June) Stout Simpson, and many nieces and nephews.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents and his half brother, Ed Stout, and half sister, LaVeda Lazorski.
The family will mourn privately, and in accordance with Ralph's request, his ashes will be spread over his beloved hills of West Virginia. The family would like to express deep gratitude for steadfast devotion and many kindnesses given by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wilson of Falling Waters.
Online condolences may be offered at www.BrownFuneralHomesWV.com.