June 9, 1925 – June 10, 2010
Raymond Bert Minchow died on Sunday, June 10, after a series of strokes. Ray lived a life filled with family, friends and a community he loved. Ray was 87 years old.
Ray proudly served his country. He had just turned 18 on June 9, 1943, between his junior and senior year of high school, when the Army recruiter entered Natrona High in Casper and picked 13 young men to serve. He went home and packed.
Ray was a sergeant in the Army when he and his squad were reported as “missing in action.” His parents were notified by Western Union telegram. Three weeks later, they received another telegram saying they had been found. Ray always joked that he knew where he was the whole time. Ray still had shrapnel in his leg and both feet had been severely frostbitten. He received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and many other medals.
After the war, Ray came home and graduated from High School at Natrona High in 1946. He went on to take bookkeeping courses and kept books for several companies. Ray played in the fast pitch softball league in Casper. His dad, Bert, was the league’s leading pitcher, and Ray led the league in hitting. Ray was instrumental in starting the Little League Baseball program in Lovell in the 1950s and was one of the first sponsors. Minchow’s Service has continued to sponsor teams to this day.
He loved all sports and followed his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and neighbors starting with tee- ball, through cheerleading, basketball, football, track, baseball and all programs and concerts. He was so very proud of his family. Ray and Jackie traveled to games all across the country, watching grandchildren play ball and run track. He just loved it! He was so proud of all of his grandkids, going to all of their high school and college graduations.
He met and married Jackie Hutchison, the love of his life, on June 3, 1949. You very seldom saw Ray without Jackie by his side. In 1953, they moved to Lovell and purchased the Mobil gas station. They were baptized and confirmed into St. John’s Lutheran Church on March 29, 1957. Ray and Jackie instantly made many long, lasting friendships. They spent many years fishing, camping, bowling, gardening and travelling.
Ray wanted to be able to take his family to the mountains so in 1963 he and Buck Hill designed a crew cab pick-up. It was the first of its kind. Ray often said that he should have patented the crew cab.
Ray was a true American. He loved his country and showed that love in so many unselfish ways. Ray, along with other American Legion members, spent years fixing up used toys for the needy children in the community. They put flags out on Main Street, drilling holes for the flags and making sure the flags were in good shape. Ray, Jackie and their family and many friends continue to put flags out for Memorial Day at the Lovell Cemetery. He was so proud of being a member of the cemetery board, and he loved the way the cemetery looked, especially when all the flags were honoring our veterans. He would start reminding his children two weeks in advance that the family was to meet at 6 p.m. on Sunday to put flags out and then pick them up on Monday at 5 p.m. He was a true American hero.
He loved his community. He proudly wore the “rose garden” sticker on his shirt pocket and later his hats. Lovell was his home and he was proud of it.
Ray always enjoyed the “coffee crew” at the station over the years. He and so many others solved the problems of the world each morning. When past employees or friends were in town, they always took a few minutes to join him at the station and to catch up. He was very respected and loved.
Ray’s family feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and best friend. He always had time to stop what he was doing and to talk or listen. He was kind and gracious and showered his family with so much love and support.
Raymond Bert Minchow was born to Bert and Louella Minchow on June 9, 1925, in Lavoye, Wyo. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Al and Dick and their wives, his mother and father-in-law, Lloyd and Kate Hutchison, sister-in-law Ramona Lloyd and her son Johnny.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie, of 63 years; son Don and wife June of Cowley, kids Eric, Jessica, Pat and Jeff and their families; son Jim and wife Donna of Lovell, kids Nichole, Heidi and Jared and their families; daughter Carol and husband Mike Fink of Lovell, kids Kati and Kyle and their families; and daughter Lori and husband Dave Scheffler of Lovell, kids Tim, Shelli, Kristen and Josh and their families. Ray had 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, tons of “honorary” children and grandchildren and a community he loved.
Services were held in honor of Ray on Friday, June 15, at the Lovell High School Gymnasium. Burial with full military honors followed at the Lovell Cemetery. Ray would be honored by donations to the American Legion Flag Project, Relay for Life or the Lutheran Church parking project.