Charles A. Ragan
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Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 24, 2013

CHARLES A. RAGAN Baseball Fan, Economic
Warrior International Businessman Charles A. Ragan,
who passed away on September 2, 2013, was born
March 30, 1916 in Washington, DC to the late John and
Marie (Smith) Ragan.

He attended Mount Saint Martin Grammar School,
McKinley High School, The Catholic University and graduated from The
Columbus School of Law in 1940.

As a boy he was an avid baseball fan and was present on the last day of the 1928
season when "Goose" Goslin won the American League batting title (.379) in his
final at-bat.

Upon law school graduation he joined the Commerce Department. In early 1942
he was transferred to a newly developed department called the U. S. Commercial
Company whose purpose was officially: " agent of the Foreign Economic
Administration for the procurement of strategic materials and essential foodstuffs,
outside the United States, the execution of certain kinds of economic warfare
against the enemy, and the facilitating of American trade with areas with which
direct commercial dealings have been cut off or restricted by reason of the war."
Charlie participated through international agents in economic warfare by
preemptively buying specialty metals and war materials on international markets to
prevent the Axis powers from obtaining them. By paying high prices for these
scarce products, Axis purchasing agents and smuggling operations were exposed
and frustrated. Charlie worked through agents in Turkey, North and South Africa,
South America and the Pacific region, among other areas, and contributed greatly
to this part of the successful Allied war effort.

Upon de-mobilization in 1947, Charlie's knowledge and experience led him to a
career in international business and import/export. Charlie was first engaged in
imports between Western Europe and the United States and traded in raw
materials, semi-manufactured and manufactured goods. In 1951, Charlie
co-founded the United Overseas Corporation which negotiated for and represented
major U.S. corporations in purchasing raw materials and manufactured goods
abroad. As part of the reconstruction plan for Japan, Charlie made 14 trips,
normally for months at a time, negotiating package offerings of factories such as
steel mills and chemical refinishers. . Other international deals included brokering
scrap metal, oil, iron and other ores, gypsum, cement and other materials as
widespread as Egypt, Spain, Nigeria, Mexico and others. Recognizing a coming
market disruption with the Communist takeover in China and the subsequent
interruption of trade, Charlie purchased a magnesium mine in Tennessee in 1953
and operated it successfully for three years, using Nationalist Chinese technical
experts. The mine was sold in 1956 to a major mining company at a substantial
profit. In Vietnam, he lead the team negotiating with the U. S. Army and
Vietnamese officials for the purchase of all battlefield generated scrap metals on
behalf of a U. S. and Japanese consortium.

In 1974 he co-founded the First Columbia Company, Inc. which served as
international sales representative and negotiator for major clients in the Pacific
region. The company disbanded in 1993 and Charlie continued negotiating
contracts from clients in Egypt, Malaysia, Guinea and the Philippines.

Charlie was an avid golfer and combined his international travel with pleasure by
representing, arranging appearances for, and accompanying the champion golfer
Sam Snead on many professional demonstration tours of Japan.

Charlie was an active parishioner at Christ the King Parish in Silver Spring and an
active member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of the
University Club since 1948.

A resident of Chevy Chase since 1956, Charlie was predeceased by his wife of 60
years, the former Rita Lane, in 2001 and by Ann Ramos Peter in 2012.

He is survived by his daughter, Rita Ragan Madden (the late John Madden, Mike
Holland), three granddaughters: Rita Madden Smithdeal (Wilson) of Chevy Chase;
Bridget Madden Moore (Shane) of Chevy Chase; Kathleen Madden Pajcic (Seth)
of Jacksonville, FL and seven great-grandchildren.

Services were previously held.