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Bruno Raymond Alto

1921 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Bruno Raymond Alto Obituary
Bruno Raymond Alto passed away July 29, 2014. He was good man who loved his family. Ray Alto saw the best - and the worst - of the 20th century. Ray leaves a proud legacy of love, devotion to family, service to community and lifelong learning.
Ray was born September 16, 1921, the only child of Karl and Esther (nee Saari) Alto in Lead, South Dakota. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Butte, Montana, where he was raised in the "Finn Town" neighborhood, speaking Finnish as his first language. Ray graduated from Butte High School in 1939. He was a student at the Montana School of Mines when World War II broke out. Ray enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 8, 1941. Before being sent overseas, Ray met Dorothy Jean Conroy while on leave in Butte. He served in France and Germany 1944-1945 in the 157th Infantry, 45th Division until the end of the war.
Ray returned home to Butte, Montana, where he and Jean married on May 5, 1946. He resumed his studies at the Montana School of Mines, graduating with honors in 1948 with a B.S. in Geological Engineering. Ray went to work as a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1948, mapping geology in Glacier National Park.
Ray and Jean always valued education and learning. In 1951 they moved to Seattle so that Ray could continue his studies at the University of Washington. While in Seattle, their first daughter Leslie was born. Ray graduated from UW with a M.S. in Geology in 1954 and the family returned to Montana, where Ray resumed work for the USGS. While in Montana, Ray and Jean welcomed their son James to the family. In 1958 Ray accepted a transfer to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where he was involved with the USGS Oil and Gas, Leasable Minerals department. In Carlsbad, their second daughter, Nancy, was born. Ray and Jean raised Leslie, James and Nancy in Carlsbad. During this time Ray began his lifelong involvement promoting opportunities for disabled citizens through many community activities.
In the late 1960s Ray was transferred to the USGS office in Salt Lake City, Utah. After retirement from the USGS in 1978, Ray enjoyed being a Consulting Geologist with several oil, gas and mining companies until the mid 1980s. In his retirement, Ray enjoyed travel, visits from many friends, swimming at Steiner's and community events including lectures at the U and sporting events, but especially the Special Olympics.
In 2004, Ray became a resident at the SLC Utah State Veterans' Nursing Home where he continued to be active and interested in many things. He participated in the numerous activities, attending lectures at U of U and SLC library, cookouts, fishing trips, outings to Walmart, trips to Wendover, lunches at local restaurants, Bingo, and the Resident Council.
Throughout his life Ray Alto gave his time and energies to family, friends, and community. He was active in the U.S. Army Reserves, retiring with the rank of Major in 1971. He remained involved in many activities helping the disabled. His family was enriched by his lifelong pursuit and love for education, reading and intellectual interests. His children recall the home in Carlsbad, New Mexico, being well-stocked with books and magazines, including the Saturday Review of Literature. Always an avid reader, Ray will be remembered for having a book or magazine with him at all times.
Ray was proud of his children and their accomplishments, especially Nancy's. Ray was also proud of his Finnish heritage.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved daughter Nancy. He is survived by his wife Jean Alto (SLC), daughter Leslie (Don), Orlando, Florida, son James (Deborah) SLC. His extended family includes Thomas, Ueli, Dorothea, and Fridel Rathgeb of Winterthur, Switzerland, and close family friends Shava Dowland and Andrea Petersen.
Honoring Ray's wishes, cremation has taken place and a small gathering of friends and family will be held. He will have a headstone at the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park at Camp Williams, Bluffdale, Utah, and the remainder of his ashes will be scattered in the mountains of Montana, which he loved.
Ray's family would like to thank the SLC Utah State Veterans Nursing Home staff for their many kindnesses, compassion and excellent care given to Ray. Their outstanding dedication and service benefits us all. We also thank Brighton Hospice for their care.
In lieu of flowers Ray would have preferred a contribution to a charity serving the disabled.

Published in Carlsbad Current-Argus on Aug. 3, 2014
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