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Ahner, Officer Ralph H.

End of Watch: 
Tuesday, September 13, 1932
County: 
King
Agency: 
Seattle P.D.

During the hours of darkness on September 9, 1932, Mr. C. R. Marquardt was driving his automobile southbound on 4th Avenue S. Marquardt stated he slowed to make a turn at S. Horton St., and that he had signaled a left turn with his arm. As Marquardt started to turn, an SPD motorcycle, driven by Officer Ralph H. Ahner, 32, crashed into the driver’s side of his car. Officer Ahner had also been southbound on 4th Avenue S. The officer was taken to Virginia Mason Hospital with multiple fractures including a skull fracture. SPD Captain Charles E. Dolphin stated Officer Ahner had been chasing a speeding car at the time of the accident. While hospitalized, Officer Ahner’s condition was improving, but it suddenly took a turn for the worse. He died at 1:00 a.m. on September 13, 1932. He was survived by his wife, Florence, a stepson, Earl, and several siblings including his brother, Ted, a Seattle police officer.

Officer Ahner’s funeral was held on September 15, 1932. His remains were cremated. An inquest ruled the accident was an “accidental collision while the deceased was chasing a traffic violator”. C. R. Marquardt was never charged with anything.

Ralph Ahner’s partner was Officer Ellsworth Cordes. He was killed in the line of duty less than four months later when his police motorcycle collided with a City street car at 1st Avenue S. and S. Horton St. on December 31, 1932.

Ralph’s brother, Ted, attained the rank of Captain and was Chief of the SPD Traffic Division. He died from leukemia in 1951, one month shy of his 25th anniversary with the Seattle Police Department.

Ralph Herbert Ahner was born on August 8, 1899 in Wingdale, NY. Records show him living in Seattle in 1910 at the age of 10. When he registered for the draft in 1918, he was working as a “blacksmith helper”. He was employed as a mechanic for many years before he was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on 10-14-1930.