On the morning of September 28th, we lost a beloved member of our family, Ray Bergmann—a loving and supportive Father, Grandpa and Father-in-Law. At 91 years of age, Ray wasn't in the best of health, but had been doing well and so it was a complete shock that he passed away quietly in his sleep without any warning of what was to come.
Ashley posted this message on her Facebook page right after she came home from school and we told her the sad news…
"Today I came home to find out my grandpa passed away. So I just want to talk about him for a bit. He was my hero. I wear his dog tag around my neck every day. Everyone always said how we were so alike and there was no greater compliment than that for me. No one was greater than my grandpa. Nobody was or ever will be braver, smarter, or more kind hearted and lovingly sarcastic than him. I love my grandpa more than anything or anyone in this world. And I never got to say goodbye."
and Katie shared this moving tribute later that day…
"Today, God was given one more angel in Heaven. From teaching me how to fish and amazing Thanksgiving dinners to joking about how I owed you money to borrow your wheel chair, you've always been my hero. Through everything in my life you've always encouraged me to follow my dreams, never give up and to never settle for less than I deserve. I can't believe you're gone and I miss you so much Grandpa...I thank God for blessing me with someone so special in my life and that you're not hurting anymore. I can't wait for the day when I see you again, but for now at least I'm lucky enough to know now you're looking after me always. Thank you so much for all of the beautiful memories I have of you and the impact you've made in my life. You always were and still will be my hero."
My husband Kraig wrote this for the obituary notice—but there wasn't enough room to relate what a funny, hard-working, quirky, and smart man his Dad truly was…
On September 28th, Ray passed away peacefully in his sleep. We lost a devoted husband, a loving father, a cherished grandfather and a committed friend to many. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dora, his sons Kurt (Wendy), Kel (Sue), Kris and Kraig (Lori) and 5 grandchildren, Michael, Lauren, Lisa, Kaitlyn and Ashley. Ray was born in Portland OR on June 24, 1921. He grew up in the Illinois River Valley of Southern Oregon.
Ray was one of many that committed to faithfully serve our country in WWII as a pilot in the Army Air Corp attaining the rank of Major in the Air Force. He survived being shot down over Yugoslavia and detainment as a POW. Ray returned from Germany at the end of the war to marry his wife Dora in 1945. Ray served his community by bringing electricity to much of southern Oregon and building dams and power plants for Pacific Corporation throughout the Northwest. Ray was very aware of the cost of power and would ensure his family and friends would not be wasteful; he was a creative recycler well before it was in vogue.
Ray lived throughout the Pacific Northwest, first living in Oregon, Wyoming and then Washington where he enjoyed many years of retirement. He was an avid fishing enthusiast and a conservationist. He would spend endless hours fishing for salmon or trout and teaching his sons the pleasure of these times. He enjoyed gardening, hiking, and camping with his family.
Ray was well known and loved for his sharp mind, a quick wit and endless amounts of humorous pranks. Many visitors found something unusual tucked deep in their shoe, luggage or a piece of wood in your pillow. He was also a wonderful story teller, especially when sharing with his grandchildren the events of his life. To his final day Ray enjoyed a sharp repartee with his family that always resulted in much laughter.
I loved how Ray was always so interested and encouraging in whatever we were doing... and the way his face would light up with that devilish grin after he made an especially snappy comment or received a sassy zinger of an answer in return. His devotion to his family was always evident and we were blessed to have had a great character like him in our lives. Rest in Peace, Ray…we'll all miss and think of you each and every day… XOXO