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James E. "Jim" Ray

1937 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
James E. "Jim" Ray Obituary
Jim E. Ray

Lewistown —James E. "Jim" Ray 77 of Stanford died early Sunday morning, April 6, 2014, in the Hospice House in Lewistown of natural causes. He was born Jan. 31, 1937, to Fred and Lorna Michel Ray in Glasgow. His first home was at shantytown Wheeler while his dad worked for the Corps of Engineers as a carpenter constructing the Fort Peck Dam. Jim was educated at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Adak, Alaska, and Medicine Lake, where he met his future wife, Laurel "Toodie"Jensen. In January of 1955 he joined the U.S. Navy and cruised the Atlantic aboard the USS Northampton as a BT3 boiler technician. He worked as a meat cutter and butcher, oilfield roughneck, logger and owner of Woodhurst Lumber at Stanford and Lincoln.

He was a volunteer fireman in Medicine Lake and was instrumental in forming the Eliminators Car Club in Sidney. His creativity and ingenuity to solve problems of any kind was one of his gifts. His passions were his family and the outdoors, traveling by Google Earth extensively in his last years. He had a wonderful memory and his storytelling was treasured by his family members, who never tired of hearing his stories of growing up in Alaska, and at coffee time with friends. He said he had been able to do everything he desired in life, fishing, hunting, racing cars, boating and gold mining, to name just a few.

Survived by his wife of 58 years, Laurel of Stanford; sister Sheryl (Bob) Zuck of Grants Pass, Ore., brother Gary Ray of Sidney, stepsister Dyanne Lehman of Whitefish; four children, daughter Pam (Bing) Schmitt of Stanford, daughter Cindy (Jim) Kulish of Stanford; sons Shane (Diane) of Coffee Creek; and Fred (Marj) of Lincoln and her children and grandchildren, Ashley Nelson, Brady and Beau, Cassie Truax, Brynn and Matt, and Eddie Truax and Ryker; also grandchildren and great-grandchildren Gabe Schmitt and daughter Zephyra; Christine (Beau) McFadyean, son Brenner and daughter Reese; Kandace (Mike) Kochivar and daughter Cynthia "Tia" James; Holly (K.C. Clement) Kulish; Stacey (David) Ray Roth; and Megan Ray.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Fred Jr., stepfather C.H. "Indy" Halvorson, stepsister Sherry Halvorson and stepbrother Jeff Halvorson.

A memorial service to honor and celebrate Jim's life will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, April 11, in the Stanford Presbyterian Church. Cremation has taken place. The Cloyd Funeral Home & Cremation Service is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the Hospice of Central Montana - Hospice House or the . They may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

The family wishes to thank all the Hospice nurses and staff for their wonderful care.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Apr. 9, 2014
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