1933 - February 5, 2021
One year Ray was traveling in Wales when his car broke down on the side of a rather untraveled road. A couple came by and stopped to help. He ended up having dinner with them and stayed the night at their house. In turn, they stayed at his house when they visited Arizona years later. That story reflects the wonder of our Dad. He never met a stranger.
If you talked to Dad for more than 5 minutes you probably knew he had three daughters of whom he was immeasurably proud. Each daughter was his favorite child. If you talked to him for ten minutes, you would hear about his 6 wonderful grandchildren. Family was everything to Dad.
Ray was born in La Junta, Colo. and grew up in Las Animas, Colo. The 5th of 6 children, he weighed 12 pounds and had 2 teeth when his mom delivered him at home.
His parents named him Roy, but it was misspelled as “Ray” on his birth certificate. So anyone who knew him post-Army days called him Ray. People he grew up with called him Roy.
Dad told the typical story of walking to school in the snow uphill both ways. In truth, he said he never knew his family was poor though some years he had but one pair of shoes. He and his siblings picked produce for 10 cents a row. He didn’t relate those facts as a means for sympathy, but in order to be grateful for what he had.
In college he met Jetta. He proposed to her 3 weeks after they met and 3 months later they were married. When she passed away in 2017, they had been married 59 years. He will be placed beside his wife at the National (Veterans) Memorial Cemetery, a beautiful place he was instrumental in creating to help honor veterans.
Dad started working for the Veterans Administration Hospital in the housekeeping division. When he retired in 1994, he was the Hospital Administrator for the Phoenix Veterans Administration Hospital. He enjoyed a wonderful tenure as the Director of the VA Hospital in Hot Springs, S.D. from 1976-1981. Ray and Jetta loved the small town atmosphere, trips to the bakery, and the beauty of the Black Hills. They made friendships that lasted their lifetime.
Dad was 87 (and a half) when he passed away on February 5, 2021. He always threw in the “half.” Since he found something positive in every day, it’s only fitting that he should keep track so closely.
At the end, Dad was surrounded by his daughters, Christi Bourne, Vicki (Rob)Hill, and Kerri (Rich) Zauner. He will be lovingly remembered by his grandchildren, Julia, Matthew, Gregory, Jordyn, Grace and Jack. He was supported by extended family and numerous friends. He was strong and brave and kind and a great listener even in his final days.
Dad loved to have breakfast at a place called The Joy Bus near his home in Phoenix. It is a restaurant that makes delicious meals for the public, then delivers them free of charge to cancer patients. If you are thinking of memorializing him, he would be honored with a donation to The Joy Bus.
Dad passed as a result of COVID-19. A gathering to celebrate him will be held when gathering does not put others at risk of the fatigue and respiratory distress that were so debilitating for the last 3 weeks of his life.
There are so many people who will miss him immensely. And he would say, “that is right and proper” for a while. And then, he would want everyone to go out and make the best of every day. There is no chance that he will be forgotten. Rest In Peace , Dad. We know you are dancing with Mom.