Raymond L. “Ray” Stevens, 87, a longtime Grays Harbor resident, died in the comfort of his home in Elma on Saturday, December 28, 2019 surrounded by his family. Ray was born on October 12, 1932 in Cawker City, Kansas, the sixth son of William Franklin and Esma Mary Melinda (Bowen) Stevens. He was predeceased by his brothers, Frank, Curtis, Oren, Russell and Leon Stevens, and a sister, Virginia Berry. His surviving sister, Cora Smith, resides in Albany, OR. Seeking to escape the harsh living conditions brought on by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, Ray’s father moved the family to McCleary when he was a young boy and he went on to attend schools in McCleary, Aberdeen and Tacoma.
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On November 2, 1962, he married Carol Ann Murray at her grandmother’s home in Elma. They were married for 44 years until she passed away in 2006.
As a young man, Ray moved to Ellensburg, WA where he worked as a dairy farm hand before returning to the Grays Harbor area to begin a lifelong career in logging. He started working in the rigging and later became a timber cutter in the Camp Grisdale high country. He finished his career as a Bull Buck (Timber Cutting Foreman), retiring from Simpson Timber Company in 1998 after more than four decades.
In 2012, Ray was inducted into the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame in honor of the two decades he spent racing Modifieds for car owners Howard Carter and Harold Clevenger, and winning coveted trophies like the Longwith Memorial, the Simpson Timber Cup and the Fair Race. He loved fast cars both on and off the track. The current hotrod parked in his garage is a torch red Shelby GT500, with most of its miles racked up during a high-speed road trip to Wyoming with his teenage grandson.
He was an avid fisherman and gardener, taking great pride in the bountiful harvests he shared with neighbors, friends and family.
Above all else, Ray was a caring and generous father and grandfather who loved his family. He is survived by a daughter: Cheri (Randy) Rakevich, McCleary; a son: Jeff (Angie) Stevens, Montesano; and four grandchildren: Shelby Carter, Kaitlin Stevens, Lukas Stevens and Riley Rakevich; and four great-grandchildren.
A graveside funeral service will be held at 11AM Saturday, January 11th at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Elma. A reception will follow at 12:00PM at the McCleary VFW Hall, 158 Summit Rd.
A card of condolence with a message or a memory may be sent to the family at www.fernhillfuneral.com