Donald George Ray
Donald George Ray
October 22, 1916 – May 5, 2014
Grinnell, Iowa | Age 97
Donald Ray, 97, of Grinnell, and formerly of Oskaloosa and Tracy, died Monday evening, May 5, 2014, at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
Donald George Ray, son of John and Effie Eldora Lundy Ray, was born October 22, 1916 in Tracy, Iowa.
Don attended school in Tracy and as a young man went to work at the Weldon Limestone Company, where he served as a foreman. Don left that position for a year when he worked in Alaska on the Alcan Military Highway.
He was back home operating his own limestone hauling business when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, January 15, 1945. Don served for 13 months in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and in occupied Japan as a Construction Foreman with Co. D, 165th Infantry and the 720th Military Police Battalion. He was discharged as a Corporal, August 23, 1946. Don returned to Tracy where he began his career as a heavy equipment operator.
He was a member of the Operating Engineers Local 234 of Des Moines, Iowa, Local 9 of Denver, Colorado, Local 250 of Houston, Texas and Local 3 of San Francisco, California.
December 28, 1958, he married Retha Miriam Nash in Richmond, Texas. He retired from heavy equipment in 1975. At that time, Don and Retha moved to Craig, Colorado, where he served as the general manager of Craig Machine for 2 years and then as general manager with Craig Electric Motor and Machine until 1983. At that time Don and Retha moved to Oskaloosa where they managed the King Lear Motel for 10 years. Don retired in 1992.
He was a member of the American Legion, the Eagles Lodge and the V.F.W. Don enjoyed flying and gardening.
Don’s family includes his wife, Retha of over 50 years; a brother and sister-in-law: Henry and Lillian Ray of Tracy; three daughters: Cherie (& Don Young) of Montezuma, IA; Sharon Ramona (& Vernon) Burris of Oklahoma City, OK; and Linda (& Ted) Smith of Beacon, IA; two sons: Don (& Judy) of Carlisle, IA; Gary (& Maxine) De Wild of Denver, Colorado; 19 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; and 14 great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, Don was preceded in death by a son, Steve De Wild, three sisters: Thelma Calvert, Naomi Funk and Mary Kerr; and two nephews: Glen Ray and Ray Murl Kerr.
Funeral Services for Don will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 8, 2014, at Garland-Van Arkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel with Rev. Todd Jones of the Community Hope Church of Montezuma and Rev. Vernon Burris of New Zion Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, OK officiating.
Military Honors will be conducted by the Honor Guard of the Oskaloosa American Legion and V.F.W. following the funeral service.
Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Friday morning, May 9 at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in rural Adel, Iowa (Van Meter Exit off I80 going west).
Visitation will begin at noon Wednesday at the funeral chapel; the family will be present from 5-7 p.m. to greet visitors.
Memorials may be made to the Tracy United Methodist Church or the Community Hope Church of Montezuma.