STRANGE, J. Ray (Age 94) Ray was born May 14, 1919 in Hamilton, Montana to Roy and Lura Strange. He graduated from Ellensburg High School and attended Central Washington College and University of Washington. Seeing World War II in the making, Ray decided to take to the skies and learn to fly. He became a flight instructor right before Pearl Harbor and was then sent to Ellensburg as an instructor for the college flying course. A subsequent assignment in King City, California provided him the opportunity to meet a beautiful brunette, Wilma Atwood. For fifty-six years they shared love, laughter, and family. Ray was a successful businessman, managing a commercial refrigeration company in Spokane. He and Wilma led an active life together, pursuing their shared interests of family, golf, travel, dancing, bridge, and entertaining their many friends. After retirement, winters were spent as Snowbirds in Arizona. The all-important trip back to Spokane for Christmas with family was a given! Despite many health setbacks the past four years, Ray never lost his gentle spirit. He was the model of graciousness and congeniality. His smile spoke volumes to all who were privileged to know him. Ray was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Wilma, his second wife, Cleo-Hepworth, and daughter, Rita Anderson. He is survived by his daughter Margo Virden Crosby, son-in-laws Joel Crosby and Gary L. Anderson, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Ray spent the last six months of his life at the Clare-Bridge facility in Spokane. He passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 26th. His family wishes to thank the Clare-Bridge staff for their loving care extended to Ray and his family. A private family service is being planned.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on Sept. 29, 2013