Local War Hero Dead at 97

am800-news-mayville-dilkens-august-9-2019

A Windsor veteran who was a fixture at events throughout Essex County has died.

Ralph Mayville served in WWII in the Devil's Brigade — an elite Canadian-American special forces unit that landed in Italy in 1944 that would later become a model for the U.S. Navy SEALs. Mayville was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015 as a member of the brigade.

He remained active well into the twilight of his life, having completed a tandem jump in 2014 at the age of 92. Mayville trained as a paratrooper for the Second World War and received his Jump Wings in 1945, but the war ended before he was able to drop behind enemy lines.

Mayville lived in Windsor, but Amherstburg is where he was born and raised.

"I met him my first year as mayor and every time we met we had some great conversations. I'll tell you, his contribution to the world, to society, is hard to sum up, but, he will be missed," says Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

DiCarlo tells AM800 News he always looked forward to seeing Mayville, which wasn't a problem as the veteran was a regular at ceremonies and memorials throughout Essex County right up until the end.

"As corny as it may sound, he really was the salt of the earth, he was just so well grounded, someone you wanted to be around," he says. "I could not have spent enough time with that guy, I just couldn't. I was very fortunate at events because I was always given plenty of time with him and that meant a lot to me."

Mayville epitomized what it means to live humbly, according to DiCarlo.

"When you look at what he did during the war, it's just incredible and he never really bragged about it, he didn't talk about it too much," says DiCarlo. "If he knew you well enough you were lucky to get some stories."

DiCarlo says there's already talk of including a memorial to Mayville in a WWII monument proposed for Navy Yard Park in Amherstburg.

Mayville's long time caregiver Cathy Moczko tells AM800 News he passed away early Friday morning at the age of 97.

He would have celebrated his 98th birthday on August 21.