Ralph A. Planta, 65, truck driver, Beth Steel foreman

May 10, 2006

Ralph A. Planta, a truck driver and retired steel company foreman, died of bladder cancer May 3 at a hospital in Lima, Ohio. The former Essex and Bel Air resident was 65.

Mr. Planta was born and raised in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan. After serving in the Army as a security specialist, he began working in 1963 at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant.

In 1987, he retired from Bethlehem as a general foreman and moved to Wapakoneta, Ohio, where for the last 17 years he had been a truck driver for Whiteline Express.

A motorcycle enthusiast, Mr. Planta was a member of the Backroom Executives Motorcycle Club in Jackson Center, Ohio.

"He enjoyed riding his Honda Shadow Ace Tour Cruiser, and we had taken trips to Ocean City and the Great Smoky Mountains. We were waiting for him to retire so we could go cross-country," said his wife of 27 years, the former Nancy Brown.

Mr. Planta had been a member of the Maryland Army National Guard.

Services were Saturday.

Also surviving are two sons, Ralph A. Planta of Mount Airy and William C. Planta of Washington; a daughter, Lisa L. Planta of Pittsburgh; a brother, Edward A. Planta of Allen Park, Mich.; a sister, Paula Fulkerson of Dearborn, Mich.; and six grandchildren. His earlier marriage to Kathleen Clark ended in divorce.

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