Ray Lee Justen, 25, of Palmer, Alaska, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in a tragic plane accident in the Knik River Valley. Ray was a lifelong Alaskan, born in Anchorage on Feb. 19, 1991, to Ted and Bea Justen. He was raised in the Mat-Su Valley and graduated from Palmer High School in 2009.
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Ray volunteered at the Butte Fire Dept, Station 21, and also worked as a fire fighter at Endicott Station. He enlisted in the Army directly out of high school. He was employed at Equipment Source Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska, and prior to that he was employed at Endicott Oil Field with Hill Corp/CH2MHill.
Ray's true passion was flying and living the Alaskan lifestyle; living his life to the fullest and sharing his passion for living with anyone fortunate enough to be in his presence. He loved his Cessna 172, his pride and joy, which he referred to as 53E. Flying was his true freedom and escape. He loved the outdoors, testing the limits of anything with a motor including dirt bikes, 4-wheelers and snowmachines. He was a true Alaskan. He had the biggest heart, accomplished much in his short life: everything he set his mind to he made a reality. Spending time with his family and loved ones was very important to him. The last year of his life he thoroughly enjoyed adventuring with the light of his life, Kristina, whom he absolutely adored. He was incredibly loyal, loving, kind, a true giver. He was always happy and exciting to be around, touching the lives of all who knew him.
Ray is survived by his parents, Ted and Bea Justen; siblings, Curtis, Destiny, Robbie and TJ Justen, Shannon Hall, John and Elizabeth Thomas and Chris and Cassie Thomas; grandparents, Judie and Hugh Flagan, Patricia Tipton, Diana Long, Eugene and Sandy Thomas and Joseph and Nancy Justen; and many other nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. He is also survived by his significant other and love of his life, Kristina Votaw Schaub and her girls, Camilla and Sylvia. Ray also leaves behind close friends, Eric Hale, Shawn Kennerson, Jimmy Venters, Cassie Jordan Wallace, "Whiskey Mike" and numerous others. Preceded in death by his grandfather, Larry Lee Tipton; uncle, William John Thomas; and great-grandmother, Viola Justen.
A potluck style Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at 2 p.m. at the Wasilla VFW Post 9365, located at 301 East Lake View Avenue, Wasilla, AK 99654. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to https://www.gofundme.com/ray-lee-justen-funeral-fund. Memorial bequests may also be sent to the family at 471 Brimar St., Palmer, AK 99645.
Ray would often tell us, "There are no OLD BOLD pilots." And he was fearless.
Arrangements are with Janssen's Mat-Su Funeral Home.
Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel
737 E. Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
Published in Alaska Dispatch News on Nov. 3, 2016