Raymond E. Farhner
Ray Farhner, 80, of Kansas City, MO, passed away Thursday, Oct. 20, 2005. A memorial service will be held at Heartland Crem. & Burial Society, 6113 Blue Ridge Blvd., Raytown, MO 64133, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005. Ray was born in Deepwater, MO, where he grew up, graduated from high school, and served his country in WWII with the 82nd Airborne Division. He married his "sweetheart," Betty Phillips from Clinton, MO. They later moved to Raytown and raised 3 children. Ray became known as one of the greatest custom car builders and show promoters of the era. He was a loving husband, father and a mentor to many. He is survived by his three children, Larry Farhner, Barbara Farrell, and Pam Mathewson, and their spouses; four grandchildren, Shannon, Layton, Jaime, and Lauren, two step-grandchildren; two brothers, John and Darold. Along with many nieces, nephews, and loving friends. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Ray Farhner Memorial Fund, 5208 NW 59th Terr., KCMO 64151. (Arr; Heartland Cremation & Burial Society, 816-3131677).
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Kansas City Star on Oct. 23, 2005.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Sponsored by Tom Davison.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

53 Entries
Not long ago I attended a car local show& was talking to the owner of a custom car he had. He was in his mid 70's & from KC. I asked if he had ever attended a Ray Farhner show there in KC. Well about a hour later I got to see other cars. His name is still our there.
Charles Clark
October 17, 2020
Just remembering a great man! I have so many great memories from Ray.
William Roberts
January 7, 2020
I remember one of Ray's birthdays, my dad (Bob Gray) acquired a pair of hand cuffs from the Raytown police dept and cut one of the cuffs off and connected the chain to a drink glass because Ray was always asking where his drink was. This way you see he couldn't lose it.
Donald Gray
October 17, 2019
Raymond E. Farhner is my great grandpa....I never got to meet him because he died in 2005 and I was born in 2004, if he was still alive I would tell him that I am very proud of him and i look up to him in so many ways
September 12, 2016
Hey martin, I can't seem to find that poster if it is posted in the photos on this site I would like to see it all though and see if I can point someone out
donald gray
April 25, 2016
I grew up with Ray. Bob Gray was my father who put on shows all over the country with Ray. Ray was always nice to my brother and I. I'll never forget his raspy voice and giving a little kick to a table leg or a door pillar. Was his trade mark move. I miss him. Unknown to many Ray was a golden glove boxer. Pretty tough dude. Don Gray
November 10, 2013
Oh my gosh, so sad to hear the passing of Ray. He was a wonderful guy. I have such fond mememories of your family and all the fun we had growing up your next door to you. Always checking out your dad's latest car. Your dad was so kind and gentle. Smiles and hugs to each of you; Barbara, Pammy and Larry, Gloria Zamora Kahler, Indep. MO.
April 24, 2013
OMG...I can't believe I just stumbled on this site! I was trying to track down Barbra cause I knew she had married Gary and I wanted to find Christine Wilson. I've been trying to find her for years!! I'm so sorry to hear of Ray's passing. He was an awesome man and we always loved him as all your family. I have so many wonderful memories of all of you. I even have pictures and video of my brother Jimmy and Pammy. So cute together. They got married when they were about 4yrs. old...lol lol. Ray was always a giver. Had a heart of gold. He helped us out on many occasions. I know he's in Heaven with Betty and our mom laughing and sharing stories. Please contact me if you want. Would love to chat with you. I'm on FB..Clara Zamora Cravens , so is the rest of my family. God only takes the best and Ray sure fit that bill!
Clara Cravens
April 23, 2013
November 17, 2012
As others before me have said he was a great person. I seen him at the car shows that was put on back in the 60-70s. He inspired many of us to be custom car NUTS!
C.L. Clark
November 10, 2012
Just found this site by accident and felt compelled to contribute my thoughts. I grew up on a central Kansas farm reading about Ray in the many custom car and hot rod magazines I would purchase. I finally met Ray at the Magic Dragon rod run in Osage Beach Mo. sometime around '93. He had his louver press there and the Boothill Express was also on display. We had a long conversation and when I left I felt as though I had known him personally for years. I was truly honored to have finally met him. He is missed.
Mike Stewart
November 12, 2011
Sorry for your loss. I just found out. He will be missed.
Dennie Denrow
March 4, 2011
i miss you so much dad. I go online almost every day to look for people and business's who talk about you and the many custom cars you have built. I am so proud to call you my dad.
pam mathewson
October 13, 2010
You are missed.
Alison Huse Farhner
July 30, 2010
I miss you Ray!! One last scotch and water , a toast to the best damn customizer ive ever met! Remembering to use lead and bees wax not that damn bondo. As a mentor, you never forgot to teach me the correct way to do it, even when you thought I was ignoring you! Forever a mentor, And forever My friend!! always, Davie my boy!!
Dave Harralson
July 29, 2010
It has been a long time. I just learned of your passing. Rest in peace, Ray. You were a great boss, an extremely creative concept guy and one of the best promoters ever. We will all miss you. Boothill Express forever!
Hal Hammer
August 16, 2009
RIP Ray. Your work made a lot of people happy. I still remember being a kid and building a boot hill express model for my dad's 40th b'day cake. You're a permanent & welcome part of americana.
June 5, 2009
my favorite builder.i had a magazine article a few years back and tried to track him down.i talked to a lot of kind family members and got lots of help.never did meet ray but i wish i had.ill miss you ray,build lots of kool stuff up there would ya,it would be a dull place if you dont,r.i.p my friend
don grandmaison
May 12, 2007
Paz etrena a um dos melhores construtores de carros....BOOT HILL EXPRESS!!!!
Rogerio Barbosa
February 25, 2007
WOW....here I am, just today, remembering the guy I knew and worked for for a short while, Ray (Mr. Clean) Farhner. The Boothill Express was the topic of conversation and Google did the rest. I had no idea Ray had passed. Several years ago a friend had told me he had seen Ray at a flea market in KC.

I had worked for Ray when he was doing the custom van and motorcycle shows in St. Louis, always on Thanksgiving weekend. I sold advertising for a few years and was show chairman. That has to be well over 30 years ago.

I have so many memories of Ray and his ways of getting things done. Setting up the show, cultivating friendships with local motorcycle clubs, ducking out just before the awards were announced, Jumpin Joe Gerlack, Danny and the Juniors, Sam the Sham, Miss Nitro, Jimmy Alexander the mechanical man, trucks full of bikes, and the JAWS Trike that we sponsored locally.

I remember traveling to KC to pick up some wheels that Ray was supplying some local guys that were building a JAWS shark look alike trike. The movie had just come out and Ray and I had traveled to East St. Louis to a body shop in a real bad part of town to see this trike in concept that had been described to me over the phone just a couple weeks earlier. It was a pile of tubing and parts on the floor.

Ray said, "Lets do it, build it and I will show it". Less than 3 weeks later it rolled into Kiel Auditorium late thursday night and it was pretty cool. Go figure.

It's a sad day for me. I will always remember Ray fondly and his signature voice.....and the scotch, lots of scotch!!

God Speed Ray!

Jon Shoop
St. Louis, Missouri
Jon Shoop
January 19, 2007
Ray's work was key to my becoming a customizer myself...his eye for design and wonderful ideas continue to be an inspiration.. God speed, sir.
Andrew Seath
April 25, 2006
On June 3, 2006 in Raytown, MO at the Joe Herndon facility. The Raytown Opitimists and the Raytown Pharoahs,Pres.Dave Waner, Kenny Platter and myself are having a special dedication to Ray Farhner my Uncle. Many street rods, custom cars will be at this event. I will be helping coordinate this event as well as having a "Farhner Family trophy for the best custom or street rod. If any of you have any information that would be helpful and history of my Uncle, it would be highly appreciated. We hope to have many of you that have been at the shows in the good ol days to be there. Please contact me at 816 358-2108 for more details. PS This is a non profit show all proceeds will go to children with cancer, the Raytown Optimists have.
Thanks for your time! Needing any kind of memorabilia of the past car shows or photos.
Connie Farhner
Connie Farhner
April 19, 2006
I am saddened by the passing of a great man. Ray was a generous and unique person and someone I idealized since I met him in the early 70's. My memories of traveling the show circuit and being around Ray will never be forgot. His strong frame and deep voice will replay in my memory forever. I had Ray sign a copy of the artists drawing with his cars and his portrait years ago and it will be a treasured picture I will never part with. My prayers and thoughts go out to the family. My thoughts go with you Ray for the things I learned from a great man and for many years of fun on the car and bike show circuit.
Dave Julo
December 15, 2005
My Uncle Gene I will always love you with all my heart. You gave me a shoulder when no one else had time. You gave me advice when I found life's path was so difficult to walk down. You made each of us so happy and never ever once forgot to tell me "Miss Connie I love you these words and your warms hugs with forever remain with me.
Your neice Connie.......
Connie Bullard/Farhner
December 9, 2005
Dearest Ray—
I asked you recently if you were ever angry at me for having moved back to California, and Larry having moved with me, and so far away from you and Kansas City. And, you said, “sure” there was a time when you were mad about it, but that you believed it was meant to be and that you were happy for Larry and me and what we have.

I will miss you. I will miss your powerful voice on any Sunday, or any given evening. I am glad for the visits that we had over the years. I am glad you came to California the times you did for our wedding, for our renewal ceremony six years ago, and I am glad for the times we spent with you and family, including the Jarrett family in the eighties there in Kansas City.

It’s good to remember that I met you through my Uncle Cornell, who was one of your custom car protégés, when I was nine or ten, at your shop on 40 Hwy, and then again at sixteen, and then again at eighteen when my uncle introduced Larry and me at the 1974, Kansas City, motorcycle show. I traveled with the motorcycle shows that year, working with Corny in his reptile exhibit, falling in love with Larry, and being a part of your world. I am glad for all of the memories of those early-day travels and, for the memories I’ve shared with you and family over all of these years, my immediate family here in California, and with everyone in Missouri and Kansas.

There are family, friends and colleagues: people who you worked with, encouraged, mentored or sponsored, who would like to see you remembered fully with a memorial worthy of your considerable contributions to our lives, and the contributions that you made to the world of custom automobiles and motorcycles. I’m praying that we will each be moved to acknowledge you in a way that honors you and your work.

For a long time you have inspired me to tell stories, you have encouraged me in my work as a storyteller and writer, and you have inspired me when you shared some of your stories with me. I hope I let you know what an honor that was, and still is, including, and especially, when it came to those memories of your early life growing up in Deepwater, and about being in the 82nd Airborne in WWII, about creating the Boothill Express, and of your life with Betty, Larry, Barb, and Pam.

You were cared for by many, and in the form of your daughters you had angels especially in these last months. In your son, you have a peer artist who you saw work hard to maintain and sustain his artistry and creative expression, and find some faith and peace of mind in this mixed up, but beautiful world. And you saw in the artistry of your daughters how they’ve worked to maintain and sustain raising children and having families and becoming creative women in the last part of the Twentieth Century. Their children, your grandchildren: Shannon, Layton, Jamie, and Lauren are wondrous facts of your legacy, and all of them are wonderful young people, and you can see strength in each one of them that they surely inherited from you. That they, and Barb and Pam and Larry, and we all loved you like the earth loves the sun is clear.

You will live on in the sun, your reflection, and your memory. Those February days when the sun was shining and the turnouts were slow at the car and motorcycle shows, there were those of us who knew that the sun was shining inside the auditorium, and that is where we spent some of our most memorable and fondest days. I am proud to be your daughter-in-law, and glad for sharing in this life with you, dear Ray-Dad. God bless your Life and your passing.

With all my love~
Alison Huse Farhner
November 21, 2005
To Ray's family,

Ray was such a special person and was just so much fun to be around. He had a mischievious look at times that always made me laugh. It is clear from his guest book that he touched a lot of lives. I hadn't seen Ray for many years but I thought of him often. Memories of Ray will always bring a smile to my face.

Barbara (Jarrett) Young
November 21, 2005
Hi Everyone who reads this. I am Larry Farhner's Sister inlaw Lyn.
I would just like to say that I will always remember Ray as a big strong rowbusk man and wonderful person who created some wonderful Children and Grandchildren. He is deffinitly someone who leaves an impression with you after you meet him. I'm glad I got to meet you Ray.
God Bless the Farhner Family. Lyn
Lyn Tomason
November 14, 2005
My name is Dave Mathewson and I'm proud to be the son in law of Ray Farhner. I have a lot of good Ray stories to tell but the one that sticks out the most is the second date I had with his beautiful daughter, Pam. It was Ray's car show she invite me to. We stood in the entrance of mmunicipal auditorium and I had never been there and a fight broke out between 2 men. A large bald headed man came from no where and smacked the 2 culprits heads together and I said "did you see that Pam". Pam said. "yes that's my dad" I said, " lets leave" I ended up marrying Pam a few months later. I'm proud to be Ray's son-in-law
david mathewson
November 10, 2005
What can you say about Ray that has not already been said here by many of his family and friends? Only one thing, he was a wonderful Grandfather. I had the priviledge of being around Ray during the 1980's as his step granddaughter when he was married to my grandmother, Evelyn. Where many of you remember him as the custom hod rod show King I will always remember him as a wonderful playmate and friend. It is true that he was a genius at customizing. I was not aware of his passing until I started an online search for some of his pieces in order to share a piece of my childhood with my friends. He lived a full life, I think we can all say that with some authority. It is great to know that he is so respected in his community. I will always remember the family gatherings and fun moments that we shared as I was growing up. And the absolute tolerance that he showed to a little girl who enjoyed every aspect of the backstage life at the car shows. Now, as I work backstage on touring broadway shows across the country I often think back to the times that I was let loose on Bartel Hall and other expo halls around the midwest and have a great deal of respect for the man that organized all of it. My condolences go out to his family, and to the community of hot rodders out there who know what a brilliant man he was. He will live forever in the museums and photo albums around this country of ours. Thanks to Ray for all of his "Custom Auto Rama Productions."
Clista Jarrett
November 10, 2005
Ray Farhner was my father, and I have many wonderful memories of him over different stages of my life. I’m so grateful I had him for a teacher. He was strong of opinion and preachy at times but could be gentle as well. What I do know is that he always had the best of intentions for me and usually those turned out to be right. He had a unique understanding of how life worked and how people interact in it.

One particular memory I will relate now surfaced after hearing Doug, Toms’ and all the Body Shop stories of long ago. It was 1964 and I was 14 and at "The Shop" on 40 Highway. It was summer and I was helping Dad louver a hood for someone on that famous Thompson/Farhner Portable Louver Press. I was operating the hydraulic lever to punch the louver slot in the hood. After he aligned the hood with the louver line on the under side I was to press the lever down when he said, "Down" and lift it up when he said, "Up."

My friend Mike was there to say hello. He had ridden his bicycle all the way from Raytown to see the shop and what we did there. While we were talking Dad said to pay attention and we could talk later. I didn't and we talked back and forth while he said, Down/Up, Down/Up, Down/Up. Then it happened. While I was talking to Mike he said, Down/Up, Down/Up (pretty easy right?) but then I pressed down BEFORE he aligned the next louver and said Down. And there in the straight line of louvers was a louver about 45 degrees to the others. Mike and I looked at Dad. Time stopped! I didn't even breathe. He got red in the face, his eyes glowed and he took that large hood and threw it across the shop and it crashed against the wall and clamored to the shop floor. Mike's eyes were like saucers. Just as quickly as his anger surfaced it subsided to level-headed reality. He simply said in a knowing tone of voice, "We now have to buy a new hood for this person." I knew I would help. Because you can't erase a louver after you press Down. That day I learned an important lesson in listening and concentrating on what you are doing.

On behalf of Barbara and Pam and all the family I want to thank everyone who was able to attend the memorial service for my father. It was so nice to see so many friends and family and to hear many stories about Ray. We came together for a day to celebrate the life of an extraordinary person.

I especially want to thank Tom for his kind thoughts and generous spirit making this site possible to stay open. And to everyone who has contributed with their kind thoughts and memories of Dad.
Larry Farhner
November 7, 2005
Ray's passing has saddened both of us very much. He was a great father-in-law to our daughter Alison, and she loved him very much We have known Ray for at least 30 years and will miss his wonderful blustery presence when we return to Kansas City for visits.
Ed and Betty Huse
November 6, 2005
Helen Taylor
November 3, 2005
Ray, thanks for 44 years of fun, inspiration and encouragement.

When I was a teenager, my friends Jerry and Cornell and I drove out to Ray's shop in the hope of seeing some of his famous cars through the doorway and perhaps be able show him the custom model cars we had built. Within the space of a week or two, in exchange for sweeping his floor and fetching him coffee, he was allowing us the run of the shop every Saturday. This included the use of his sprayguns and his supply of expensive and exotic paints to use for our models. I quickly graduated to painting many of his showcars.

He liked the car shirts I was then drawing at home using magic markers, so he gave me an old airbrush to use for that purpose. I used it to start selling my shirts at his very first show in Kansas City in 1961, and in every one of the hundreds of shows he subsequently promoted. Since then I have continued my career to the present day, never had to work for anyone else, and I owe all of that to his generousity.

He was the most unique person I ever met, in so many different ways, and he will indeed be missed by all who knew him.
Tom Davison
October 28, 2005
My family and I will remember Ray as a wonderful person. We have many happy memories of the time we were associated with Ray.

Our condolences to all of the family.
Evelyn J.
October 28, 2005
So sorry to hear of Ray's passing. I went to many of his shows when i was a kid in Kansas City.

God bless ray and his family.
Doyle Price
October 27, 2005
I grew up near his shop in Raytown and we would ride our bikes up there to look at his cool projects. He never chased us off but instead invited us in to ask questions. I remember sitting in the seat of the Boot Hill Express!! Stuff like that you never forget!! I've been a Hot Rod junkie ever since. Many years later my son played football with his grandkids and we got to talk about the old days and I really enjoyed that! RIP Ray.
Tim McLaughlin
October 26, 2005
To the family, please accept my condolonces in your loss. Ray was definitely a part of my life and I will never forget him. The fond memories of working with him, attending the shows, going out with him will never be forgotten. At the funeral you stated Pam that he had no idea how great he was. I agree with you. I always looked up at Ray and learned many things from him. He will be sorely missed and I know he is at peace. God bless his family and may his legacy live on.

My wife really enjoyed having him to dinner and doing for him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
cornell chirila
October 26, 2005
This is a sad day for us. We worked for Ray during the Custom Car show years. We set the attendece record for Bartal hall that year. Ray was a good person and very fun to be around as long as you left the blue goose alone. We will miss Ray very much. Our thoughs and prays are with his family. God speed to Ray. I sure Joel & George are with you now.
Rodney, Sandy& Kathy Moore
October 25, 2005
Another of the greats in Automotive history, Ray will be remembered as a true craftsman. Gone, but not forgotten, as Ray influenced a legion of car builders. Condolences to the family and god speed Ray.
Pat O'Connor
October 25, 2005
Ray,,, I will miss you tremendously...You are a true craftsman and customizer in the automotive field and a wonderful person..The memories are never ending they will be there forever.. When you talk about car shows it didn't get any better than yours Ray. You are an extraordinary person and I will never forget you.. You loved giving me a hard time, especially when I wanted to tell YOU where my cars should be displayed at your shows.. It took a few minutes but you ended up agreeing with me.. This is a Great Man that will missed!!! My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family...
Toni Garcia-McGinnis
October 25, 2005
Thank you Ray for all the great creations you gave the world over the years. May your family find comfort in your memory during this tough time. Vaya con Dios, Amigo.
Ed Garcia
October 25, 2005
I showed with Ray for several years, He was so giving and caring for every one.And He was so much fun to be with.Ray was Probably the greatest at putting on car shows with out a doubt. He is a legend and will be greatly missed, but He will be remembered for many years. I am glad to have known him.
Harvey Seely
October 25, 2005
Rob Radcliffe
October 24, 2005
I'll NEVER forget the cars that Ray had a hand in building. They were some of the best I have ever seen. Ray was a true craftsman.
john norton
October 24, 2005
Ray was one of the best. He will be greatly missed. There has not been another car show in the midwest that has compared to his. Ray was a wonderful person. My prayers will be with the family.
Renata Perez
October 24, 2005
Thanks Ray for all the inspiration you gave me in the wonderful cars you created

god bless

Jeff Norwell
Jeff Norwell
October 24, 2005
von franco
October 24, 2005
To a great man may your work carry on forever .
John Mereider
October 24, 2005
Thank you for all the memorys me and my family enjoyed your your involvement to the hot rod community
you will be missed by many
Jared Weathers
October 24, 2005
It pains me deeply to lose another builder. My prayers are with his family.
James Belcher
October 24, 2005
My condolences to the Farhner family. As a baby-boomer growing up in the 50's and 60's I was tremendously impressed and inspired by his visionary customs. His legacy will not be forgotten
John Morehead
October 24, 2005
I worked for Ray during the summer of 1960 in his lower level custom body shop on 40 Hiway. He built some of the most beautiful show cars I've seen. It was perhaps the coolest job I ever had and I learned a lot during the short time I was there. An interesting thing about Ray--he could sculpt ANYTHING out of metal insofar as building a custom automobile but he wasn't real proficient at straightening a dented panel. It certainly wasn't due to a lack of skill or talent, rather I think it was because common every day body and fender work just bored him. A man with Ray's genius at custom car designing and ability to make it a reality are very rare indeed. We've lost on of the greats. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Ray's family.

A guy by the name of Bing Bauman also worked there that summer. It wasn't until a couple of years later after I'd met Gloria and we were married that I found out Bing was her cousin. Small world, eh?
Pat Starner
October 23, 2005
Thanks for all the great car and bike shows Ray. They were awesome.
Earl Christy
October 23, 2005
Showing 1 - 53 of 53 results