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Raymond Anthony Kenz

KENZ, Raymond Anthony

Raymond Anthony Kenz died at home in Catherdal City, surrounded by his loving family on November 19, 2013. The sorrow in the hearts of his family and friends is tempered by the joy that his pain has ended, and he is reunited with God. With a positive attitude, a quick wit, great dignity, and an abiding faith in God's love, Ray's life and death are an illustration of the man he was.

Ray was raised by his father, Anthony and his doting mother, Arvella, alongside his brother and life-long best friend Edward, and cherished younger sister Nancy. Ray graduated from Cathedral High School in 1945. He attended Glendale City College where he played on the basketball and tennis teams, during which he met Miss Wilma (Billie) Burkhardt. After moving to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado, where he earned a degree in Business Administration, Ray returned to Southern California and married Billie at St. Andrews Church in Pasadena in 1949. They spent the next sixty-four years together.

After graduating from college, Ray was offered a job with Automatic Fire Sprinkler Company. Ray and Billie moved to Youngstown, Ohio, where Robert was born. In 1952 they moved back to Southern California, where they welcomed David, James, Anita, Patricia, Raymond, Mary, Susan and Carol to the Kenz clan. They raised their children in Arcadia. Full of laughter, noise, chaos and love, their home served as a meeting place for the neighborhood kids on Wistaria Avenue.

In 1960, Ray and his father, alongside Fred Baun, founded Southwest Fire Protection, where five generations of the Kenz family have worked. It remains a labor of love for the Kenz
family, and is located in Monrovia. He retired in 1997 at the age of 69, having spent 50 years in the fire-sprinkler industry. In 2010 he was inducted to the National Fire Sprinkler Association Hall of Fame. Ray's principles of business and life served him well: work hard, treat people fairly, honestly, and with the respect they deserve, and always do what you think is right, especially when what is right it is not what is easy.

After his retirement, Ray and Billie moved to Lake Arrowhead, where they were active parishioners at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. They later spent much of their time at their home in Cathedral City. Active and adventurous, Ray was an extensive traveler, a lover of golf, and a snow-skier until he was 80 years old.

His family grew to include the 31 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, 12 grandchildren-in-law, nieces, nephews, and life-long close friends that are his legacy today. Ray was the life of every party, the guiding hand in times of need, and the example of unconditional love that each could count on.

Ray is survived by his dear, Billie, his brother and sister-in law, Ed and Sally, his sister and brother in law Nancy and Jack, and his children: Robert and Christy Kenz, David and Pam Kenz, Jim and Carrie Kenz, Anita and Mick Towle, Patty Brown, Raymond and Katherine Kenz, Mary and David Anderson, Susan and Henry Means, and Carol and Bob Thomas.

His well-lived life will be celebrated with the praying of the rosary on Sunday, Nov 24th at 6:30pm, at Douglas and Zook Mortuary. A mass of Christian burial will be said at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Arcadia, on Monday, Nov 25th, at 1PM. On Tuesday, Nov 26th, there will be a private family burial. Arrangements are under the direction of Douglass and Zook Mortuary.

Published in Pasadena Star-News on Nov. 23, 2013
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