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Retired ADA member killed in Texas floods

June 09, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Family photo: Dr. Ralph Carey, seated in the front, is shown here with his family, including his wife, Sue, also seated. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kathleen McNeil

Wimberley, Texas — A Texas dentist and retired ADA member has been found dead after a house he was in was swept away over Memorial Day weekend by a swollen river, according to Texas officials and news reports.

Dr. Ralph H. Carey, 73, was found deceased May 28, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on June 1. His wife, daughter and son-in-law have also been confirmed deceased.

Dr. Carey and family and friends were in a vacation home May 24 along the Blanco River that endured record flooding, sweeping the house off its foundation and down the river.

“Ralph was a great father, grandfather and uncle,” said Dr. Kathleen McNeil, Dr. Carey’s niece and a dentist who practices in Austin, Texas. “Traveling with (his wife) Sue and his family has filled his time since retirement.  He was always either talking about his last trip or where he was going next. He loved his grandson, Will, who was also in the house in Wimberley and is still missing. He was involved in his church and the Corpus Christi community.  He and Sue were just so fun-loving and accepting of everyone.”

Dr. Carey’s wife, Sue McNeil Carey, 71; daughter, Michelle Carey-Charba, 43; and son-in-law, William Randall Charba, 42, have also been confirmed deceased, according to the sheriff’s office.

The dental community has been mourning the tragedy and offering support for the families involved.

On its Facebook page, the Texas Dental Association said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of retired life member Dr. Ralph Carey, of Nueces Valley, and to all those still missing in the Wimberley flood.”

Meanwhile, ADA President Maxine Feinberg said in a statement, “The entire dental family is saddened and shocked by the news of this tragedy. The hearts of Dr. Ralph Carey’s 158,000 colleagues at the American Dental Association go out to his family and loved ones, and to all those who are impacted by this natural disaster.”

In the 1980s, Dr. Carey served in leadership positions with the Nueces Valley District Dental Society in Texas and on the TDA Council on Public Relations, according to TDA executive director Mike Geeslin.

Dr. Carey’s family and relatives of other families involved have set up an online fundraising page for recovery and relief for the families. To access the site, visit

Donations to benefit the Carey family can also be mailed to American Bank c/o Michael L. McNeil, For Benefit of: McComb, Carey, Charba Rescue Fund, P.O. Box 9638, Corpus Christi, TX, 78469.