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Raymond Harrison

April 18, 1921 ~ July 14, 2012

Visitation: July 20, 2012 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
   Location: Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel
Service: July 21, 2012 12:00 P.M.
   Location: Manhattan Bible Church
Graveside Service: July 21, 2012 11:00 A.M.
   Location: Meadowview Cemetery

Raymond George Harrison, Sr., “Ray” born in Bozeman, Montana on April 18, 1921, the second of six children, to John W. and Fannie G. (Ward) Harrison, passed away Saturday, July 14, 2012, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
 
Ray attended Hawthorne Elementary School, Emerson Junior High and Gallatin County High School and spent a year working with the Civilian Conservation Corps fighting fires and building trails until his family moved to San Francisco, California.  To help with the finances at home, he chose not to return to school, and instead worked riding his bike many, many miles in and around Frisco delivering messages for Western Union, and cleaned a meat market in the evenings. 

 
In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He trained at Camp Rucker, Alabama; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Camp Bouse, Arizona; and South Wales, England.  He proudly served with the 736th Tank Battalion, otherwise known as the “Kid Battalion,” as a supply driver to the front lines.  After serving his Country in five campaigns during World War II: Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe, he was honorably discharged at Camp Beale, California on December 25, 1945.  Ray then joined the Army Reserves.  Decorations and citations that were given him included, the European African Medal, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct medal, American Campaign medal and the World War II Victory medal.  His name is permanently inscribed on the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. and on the Wall of Liberty in Caen, France, as one of the courageous Americans whose sacrifice and commitment led to the liberation of the continent of Europe during World War II.  Ray made many good friends in his service life, enjoyed their friendships and loved attending service reunions.

 
After his discharge, he returned to his family in Bozeman and in January 1946, he met the love of his life, Wilma Herndon, and they married on August 6, 1946.  They were blessed with three beautiful children.

Ray worked at Nash-Finch Distributing Company, drove logging trucks for Idaho Pole Company, and was a substation repairman for the Milwaukee Railroad out of Deer Lodge.  In September of 1950, he was working on the natural gas line from Bridger to Butte, Montana when he received notice that he was to report to active duty at Fort Lewis where they were preparing to go to Korea. The day before his unit left, Ray was discharged for the hardship of having a wife and three small children to support. 

 
Upon returning to Bozeman, he received his meat cutters apprenticeship under the direction of Cicil Waters and Waters Meat Market and Figgins Market in Manhattan.  Ray’s love for working with wood and the outdoors would lead him to a job at the Yellowstone Pine Lumber Mill.  In 1961, Ray and Wilma moved to Redding, California, where they managed a motel. They later moved to Ventura where Ray worked driving school buses.


After a vacation back to Montana, they decided to pack up the family and move back home. Ray returned to work at the Yellowstone Pine Lumber Mill (later Plum Creek) as a millwright and an oiler.  In May 1989, he retired after 33 ½ years with the companies at the age of 69.
Over the years, Ray became an accomplished woodworker.  In addition to making beautiful gifts, he built a runabout boat for pulling the children water skiing around Wade Lake and then a 16 foot cabin cruiser which he took to Wade Lake right before the big earthquake on August 17, 1959.  They had also taken the cruiser to Trinidad, California, to fish in the Pacific Ocean where the waves were sometimes higher than the boat.  You did a good job, Ray.


In his younger days, Ray enjoyed working on his cars and building and racing stock cars. When he wasn’t working, he spent time doing what he most enjoyed most, snowmobiling, motorcycling, water skiing, camping and fishing with his family.  In his spare time, he took meticulous care of his home and yard.


Ray and Wilma had a wonderful life together and celebrated their 65th anniversary last August 6, 2011.  Anyone that knew them could see the incredible love they had for each other.  Family was the most important thing to Ray, and over the years Ray and Wilma watched and cared for many of their nieces, nephews, grandkids and great-grandkids, all who adored him.


Ray was a life member of the V.F.W. Post #7621 in Three Forks and the American Legion, and belonged to the Union of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.


Now that Ray has left us we will miss him dearly, but we’re sure he’s working with his wood lathe, fishing, or trimming the trees in Heaven.  We will see when we meet there.


He will be missed by his wife, Wilma; their children, Bob Harrison, Linda (Mike) Armold, and Ray (Jackie) Harrison Jr.; 10 grandchildren: Tishia, Nicole, Tiffani, Amanda, Ben, Lisa, Michelle, Lindsey, Ray III, and Jerry; 15 great-grandchildren: Mason, Jessica, Nickolas, Ian, Caitlin, Tyler, Taylor, Trayson, Alivia, Hilary, Halle, Melissa, Morgan, Jayme and Ryan; 6 step great-grandchildren: Lisa, Steve, Nick, Brianne, Jennah and Colton, and 5 great-great-grandchildren: Malia, Reese, Zoey, Landon and Karly.


He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Fannie Harrison; brothers John (Adrian) and Alva; sisters, Lea Clements, Eveline Gierke, and Kathleen Moffett; two grandchildren: Bobbie Marie and Maxwell Eugene Harrison.  He also had many nieces, nephews and cousins and will be missed by all.  

 

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