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James "Jim" Ray

Aug 1, 2013 - Staff

James "Jim" Ray, of Riverton, died Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at Help for Health Hospice Home. He was 83 years old.

Per his request, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at United Presbyterian Church in Riverton. The Rev. Linda Norris will officiate. A reception will follow at the Fellowship Hall, and interment will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell.

James Wallace Ray was born April 24, 1930, the son of Herman Bruce and Blanch Rachel (Kolb) Ray in St. Clair County, Illinois. He grew up in Ferguson, Mo., and graduated from high school in 1949.

His family said he was very involved in high school sports and lettered in every one offered. He excelled as a runner and a javelin thrower in track and field, and also participated in wrestling, basketball, football and baseball. He started weight lifting at home to get ready for football. Even though he was busy with high school athletics, he still found time to participate in swimming and boxing at the local Y.M.C.A. and competed in the Golden Glove competition.

He joined the U.S. Navy in January 1951. He served four years and was sent overseas during the Korean War, serving on the USS Badoeng Strait CVE-116. He was honorably discharged Nov. 29, 1954, in San Diego, Calif.

After being discharged, he worked for Emerson Electric and Ford Motor Co. in Missouri before starting his career as a lineman with Mountain State Bell in Wyoming. He worked in Powell, Worland and Cheyenne before moving to Riverton in 1974. He acquired his Senior Right of Way Agent Certification through Qwest 10 years before retiring in February 1990.

He married his wife of 58 years, Mary Lou Kittle, on Oct. 16, 1954, in San Diego, Calif., at the North Island Chapel. They had three children, Athena Lynn Ray, Wallace "Wally" Ray and Martin "Marty" Ray.

Mr. Ray was involved with I.O.O.F. Lodge, the Rebekahs, and the Eagles Lodge in Powell. He was a life member of VFW Post 3628, American Legion Post 19, Fremont County Voiture Post 1437- 40-8, and D.A.V. Weldon D Moss Chapter 8 in Riverton, serving as post commander in each. He was a member of the Korean War Veterans Association in Rolla, Mo. He had volunteered as D.A.V. van driver for the past 15 years and was appointed by the governor and served several years on the Wyoming Veteran Commission. He, along with Bill Willman, was instrumental in getting the Veterans Park constructed in Riverton.

He was honored by the Masons as Volunteer of the Year.

His family said he had a great sense of humor, enjoyed golfing and above all loved taking care of veterans and others.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; daughter Athena Lynn Ray of Lander; sons Wallace "Wally" Ray and his wife Connie of Gardendale, Ala., and Martin "Marty" Ray and his wife Cheryl of Grand Blanc, Mich.; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brothers William "Bill" Ray and his wife Elsie of Rolla, Mo., Donald "Don" Ray and his wife Dianne of Joplin, Mo., Harold Ray of Fenton, Mo., and Ronald "Ron" Ray and his wife Betty of Bensalem, Pa.; sister-in-law L. Irene Helms of La Mesa, Calif.; brother-in-law Albert "Leroy" Kittle of Killeen, Texas, and L. Howard Kittle and his wife Kim of Eugene, Ore.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents; sister-in-law Margaret Ray; brother-in-law Marion E. Kittle; and nephews Chris Ray, Larry Ray and Scott Allan Ray.

Memorials may be made to the Fremont War Memorial originated by Trinidad Herrera, the Help for Health Hospice Home, or the United Presbyterian Church in care of Davis Funeral Home, 2203 W. Main St., Riverton, WY 82501.

Arrangements are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home of Riverton. Online condolences may be left at www.thedavisfuneralhome.com.

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