My brother went to his eternal reward over five years ago. Ray was generous to a fault, aggressive beyond description when it came to anything physical, a wonderful grandfather and a great husband.
When Ray and I were growing up on the family farm in Idaho we worked together, played together and had occasional physical battles. It did not take me long to learn trying to defeat Ray was a futile endeavor. I learned to be a diplomate very quickly. Ray respected me for that and even became my protector in a rather rough environment.
Ray was an all star in football, the enforcer in basketball and an all state wrestler.
As a sophomore he bested the "tough man on campus" and was pretty much respected on campus "as the guy not to mess with" the rest of his days at Kellogg High School.
Being a tough farm boy going to college never seemed like an option to Ray. After graduating from Kellogg High School Ray joined the Marines. It just seemed like the "right fit" for Ray. He arrived in Viet Nam just before "The Tet Offensive." This was one of those battles that was technically won by our US troops. However it was also the battle that began to change public opinion of the War in Southeast Asia and that may have caused us to eventually leave without victory.
Ray experienced the atrocities of war and he shared with me occasionally the memories and awfulness of coping with the aftermath of spending two years in Viet Nam.
Ray was exposed to Agent Orange on numerous occasions which most likely brought on his diabetes at an early age. He also lost some hearing from fungal diseases that were incurable.
Ray came home from Viet Nam and met a wonderful woman who was his greatest fan and supporter until his death. He eventually moved back to the old family farm in Idaho. His son Dwayne now lives on the farm.
Ray is just one of thousands who gave their lives serving in Vietnam. Many like Ray survived the war and came home to live with the consequences. Ray was never bitter, always worked very hard and did not complain. Thank you Ray for serving our country.
A tribute to my brother Ray, a Viet Nam Veteran who gave two years and more to his country.