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Published: Saturday, 11/23/2002

Decorated Marine defied stereotype

Raymond K. “Rocky” Lane, Jr., a former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. safety inspector and a retired Marine Corps master sergeant in charge of the local recruiting office, died Thursday in Heartland of Oregon. He was 72.

He had primary lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular disease similar to Lou Gehrig's disease. The condition progresses slowly, and his symptoms began more than a decade ago. Until recent weeks, he used a walker and a scooter to get around.

“He wasn't going to let this defeat him,” his son, Michael, said. “Being a Marine for the length of time he was, he was a very self-disciplined man.”

Mr. Lane of Oregon retired in 1995 from L-O-F. His job was to protect employees from workplace hazards, and he took the responsibility seriously, his son said.

Mr. Lane left high school in his native Hertford, N.C., to join the Marine Corps. He won six battle stars as a forward observer for a mortar battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment in Korea. He had two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was communications chief of the 7th Regimental Landing Team and was cited for outstanding heroism in action for the successful capture of the Van Tuong peninsula from a force of 2,000 Viet Cong.

“He always believed in protecting his country and fighting for the freedoms we have today,” his son said. “He may have retired in 1969, but he was a Marine until the day he died.”

Mr. Lane was assigned in August, 1966, as noncommissioned officer in charge of the Lucas County recruiting substation. He defied any stereotype of a Marine sergeant.

“He was the type of person you just wanted to work for,” said John Hammye, who was a staff sergeant in the office. “He was soft spoken. He didn't hardly raise his voice at all. He was knowledgeable about the Marine Corps. He helped us want to do better.”

The office was named recruiting station of the year by the Detroit office for three years running, Mr. Hammye said, and each year a staff member was recruiter of the year.

Mr. Lane liked to spend weekends with family at their cottage on Sandusky Bay. In recent years, he and his wife spent winters in Bradenton, Fla.

Mr. Lane was a Mason, a former Boy Scout leader, and coached Little League. He was a trustee of Euclid United Methodist Church.

Surviving are his wife, Darlene, whom he married Feb. 12, 1955; son, Michael E. Lane; daughter, Michele A. Stanton; brother, A.L. Lane, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the Eggleston-Meinert Mortuary, Coy Road Chapel, Oregon, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The family requests tributes to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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