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Rogelio A Ramirez


Marine Lance Corporal Rogelio Ramirez was remembered Tuesday as a young man who would do anything for his comrades and who brightened up any gathering with his presence. The 21-year-old Pasadena resident’s funeral service was held at St. Andrews Catholic Church, which was filled with several hundred of his relatives and friends.

Lance Corporal Carl Wassberg, 19, of Terre Haute, Ind., served with Ramirez in Iraq and was one of his pallbearers.

“Lance Corporal Ramirez was always helping out people. He was always there for you,” he said. “No matter what the situation was, he would always be there, regardless if it put him in danger. He never let anything get him down. He always kept us up, he was our motivation.”

Ramirez was killed Aug. 26 in Al Anbar province in Iraq when a bomb exploded near the Humvee he was riding in. He had been in Iraq less than five weeks.

“The gift of his life was to his country, to his God,” the Reverend Paul Griesgraber said Tuesday.

Ramirez was a gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He received a posthumous promotion to lance corporal.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant George Clinton recruited Ramirez for the Corps last year. He has since been assigned to another city, but he returned to Pasadena for Ramirez’s funeral. He and Ramirez ran laps at Pasadena City College to get Ramirez ready for boot camp, Clinton said. Ramirez was attending PCC to get his high school diploma.

“He was a motivated individual,” Clinton said. “His heart was set on becoming a Marine when I met him. My job was just to help him get to that point. Every morning I would meet with him and we’d run around there. He showed up and motivated me just as much as I did him.”

Matt Penalber, 30, of La Mirada, Ramirez’s cousin, remembered him as someone who was fun to be around.

“He was a great guy,” Penalber said. “I have so many great memories of him growing up. He and his brother, Miguel, were the life of the party. I had so many laughs with them.”

Just before he shipped off to Iraq, Ramirez attended church with Penalber and accepted Christ, his cousin said. Knowing that and looking back now, Penalber said, “that’s my peace, my consolation.”

Miguel Ramirez said there was always something special about his brother.

“His spirit, it was apparent in his eyes, his walk, his energy. I always looked up to him.”

Representative Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, attended the service.

“Rogelio was an extraordinary young man who gave his life for his country,” he said. “These are the best this country has to offer in our armed forces and Rogelio was one of them. I admired his dedication and bravery, and I just wanted to be here for the family.”

Ramirez attended Wilson Middle School and Pasadena High School. He is survived by his parents, Jose and Irene, siblings, grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and a girlfriend, Carla Lopez, who is three months’ pregnant.


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