Raymond E. Smith, 84, of Cozad, passed away June 28, 2012, at the Golden Living Care Center in Cozad.
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Ray was born June 18, 1928, at Oconto, to James and Rose (Clark) Smith. He graduated from Cozad High School in 1946.
On Dec. 7, 1949, Ray married his long-time schoolmate, neighbor and love of his life, Donna Jordan at Lexington.
The couple made their home in Cozad together briefly, and in 1950, Ray was inducted into the U.S. Army. He returned to Donna following his discharge in 1952, and the couple resided together in Cozad.
Their union was blessed with three children, Doug, Dan and Cheryl. Ray worked at the Nebraska Farm Products Alfalfa Mill for over 20 years, before taking a job as a mechanic at the Hansen & Waters Implement. Ray would come to serve as a janitor at the Cozad High School, and later the grade school, retiring in the mid 1980's.
Ray was a longtime, faithful member of the Parkview Methodist Church in Cozad. He was also a longtime member of the Cozad Elks Lodge No. 2250.
Ray was very generous with his time, from orchestrating fish fries for Parkview Methodist Church, to serving as Scoutmaster of the Boy Scout Troop he chartered, to volunteering his time at the Grand Generation Center.
Ray always had a special place in his heart for children. Throughout his life, it was always important to Ray to make special efforts to encourage and cultivate growth in the youth around him. Under his tutelage as a Scoutmaster, nine young men were able to attain their Eagle Scout designations, which was something he was always very proud of. Ray was also known to fix bikes for many of the kids in the area. Even as a janitor, Ray enjoyed interacting with the kids that roamed the halls.
In his spare time, Ray would enjoy crafting wreaths, clocks and other various things from pheasant feathers. He was also an avid camper and fisherman. Ray always cooked what he caught, and his children and grandchildren would become the beneficiaries of his many fishing stories, lessons and the occasional fish fry or two. Ray would sometimes make reference to the elusive "Waldo" in many of his fishing stories, as he was the fish that always managed to get away.
Memorials are suggested to the Parkview Methodist Church in Cozad, Boy Scout Troop 189 or the Cozad Afterzone Program. Condolences may be shared at berrymanfuneralhome.com.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Donna, in May 2012; his parents; two brothers, James "Don," Marvin Dean; and a sister, Naomi Hartman.
Survivors include his two sons, Doug (Carolyn) Smith, of Cozad, Dan (Kaleigh) Smith, of Grand Island; daughter, Cheryl (Bert) Keller, of Eustis; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 2, at the First United Methodist Church in Cozad with Pastors Doug Smith and Jim Johnson officiating. Burial with military honors will be in the Cozad Cemetery.
Visitation will be on 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday from at the Berryman Funeral Home in Cozad.
Published in North Platte Telegraph from June 30 to July 1, 2012