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Raymond Edward Stelmachuk, 81, of West Fargo, North Dakota, passed away peacefully on November 3, after a battle with cancer.
Ray was born in Belfield, ND on March 1, 1937. He graduated from Belfield High School and attended two years of college at Upper Iowa University. Before joining the Army, Ray enjoyed saddle bronc riding throughout the western Dakota rodeo circuit.
Ray entered the Army in 1955 and has served tours of duty in Japan, Ethiopia, Korea and Vietnam. He enlisted in the Army to pursue a career in Communications while serving the last 9 years in recruiting, for a total of 26 years of dedicated military service. He received numerous awards and citations including the bronze star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Ray was married to Shirley Lehman in Tokyo, Japan, on April 26,1962. They were married 56 years. They had many wonderful memories and adventures living in Japan, Ethiopia, California, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, before finally residing in North Dakota.
After his military career, Ray worked several years in farming equipment sales which allowed him to travel extensively throughout the United States. Ray completed his working life career as the State Adjutant/Quartermaster of the North Dakota Veterans of Foreign Wars eventually ascending to the VFW National Inspector General position.
Ray enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, gardening, smoking ribs and shopping at Sam’s. He enjoyed socializing with his many friends in Fargo, Leech Lake and Tucson. He loved his family and friends to which he always shared interesting conversation and laughter.
Ray is survived by his loving wife Shirley, daughter Jerri Rust (Dale), son Matt (Sonya), daughter Christa Haskins (Scott), grandchildren Brandon (Ally), Austin, Brode, Jasper, Toby, great granddaughter Nora, sister Marge (Lee) Schumacher, sister Martha Obrigawitch (Toby), nieces, nephew and other family and friends.
Ray is preceded in death by Matthew Stelmachuk (brother), Matthew and Alice Stelmachuk (parents), and Jerry Lehman (brother-in-law).
Visitation will be from 6-7 p.m. on Friday, November 9, followed by a time of sharing and Prayer Service at 7 p.m. at West Funeral home in West Fargo. The funeral service will be held at Hope Lutheran North on Saturday, November 10, at 10:30 a.m. with visitation one hour before the service. Burial will be at the National Veteran’s Cemetery near Harwood in the fall of 2019.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ethos Hospice. The family of Ray Stelmachuk wishes to thank the staff at Sanford Health Medical Center, South University Bethany Nursing Home, and Ethos hospice for their compassion and outstanding medical care.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center