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Raymond Edward Smith
December 12, 1923 ~ April 19, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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Raymond E. “Ray” Smith passed away at his home in North Bend on April 19, 2023. His wife, Jean, had preceded him in death last December. He is survived by his son, Dennis Smith, and his daughter, Carlin Woodall, both of North Bend. His firstborn, Edward, had preceded him in death.
Ray and Jean had three children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Ray was a loving spouse, having been married to Jean for 76 years at the time of her death. His Christian faith was central to his identity. He was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in North Bend, having served for years as part of their Food Cupboard ministry. He was also a master gardener.
Ray was born in Marquand, Missouri on Dec 12, 1923. He moved to St. Louis in search of work in 1941. There he first became an active church goer and met Jean, the love of his life.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he sought training in electronics so that he could be more useful in military service. He was drafted in March of 1943 and assigned to the Army Air Corps charged with installing and repairing electronic equipment on bombers. He served in North Africa and Italy through the end of the war and achieved the rank of Sergeant.
Ray and Jean were married on March 10, 1946, at their home church in St. Louis. Ray then took advantage of the GI Bill to study Electrical Engineering at Washington University. He graduated in June 1950 and later that year took a job with IBM. In 1957 he was offered a promotion to move to the IBM plant in San Jose, California. That was followed by moves to Boca Raton, Florida in 1968 and Rochester, Minnesota in 1975.
In 1979, Ray took an early retirement from IBM at age 55 after completing a major project as one of the senior engineers on the System 38 computer system.
Ray and Jean decided to retire to a small farm in his ancestral home of Marquand, Missouri. This allowed him to return to his roots and cultivate his passions for gardening and fishing. He even kept bees on his farm! He also gave back to his community by serving on the Board of the local hospital and helping to provide an ambulance and establish a volunteer EMT program. Ray served both as an EMT and as ambulance driver.
In 1989, Ray and Jean packed up one more time and moved to Coquille, Oregon so that they could be closer to grandchildren. The passions for gardening and fishing continued and his grandchildren were deeply influenced by time spent in rural Oregon with Grandma and Grandpa.
As Ray entered his mid-80s, the time came to seek a less challenging regimen. In 2008 they moved to Simpson Heights in North Bend. Family, church, and gardening commitments did not waver in this less rigorous setting. “In all our travels,” commented Ray, “we haven’t found a better place to live than the Oregon coast.”