Raymond John Kaczmarek, age 85, of Cokato, died Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013.
He was born Aug. 20, 1927, in Silver Lake, to John and Emily Kaczmarek. Ray was a little brother to five older sisters.
In 1946, he joined the Army and served in St. Johns, Newfoundland in the military police.
After returning from service, Ray met Barbara Smith while driving school bus for Ralph Holt. Barb and Ray celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary June 13, 2012.
The couple raised five children; Jayne, Deb, Jeff, Cindy, and John. Ray was extremely proud of his children, grandchildren, and great-granddaughter, and their accomplishments.
Ray purchased Cokato Implement in 1961. He spent 30 years in the implement business, selling John Deere products and service.
He will be remembered for his passion for farming, land preservation, and treating his staff and customers with respect and honesty.
Ray was an avid outdoorsman and exposed his children and grandchildren to hunting and fishing. He loved his lake home on Ten Mile Lake in Hackensack. A good day for Ray was coffee, watching the birds, fishing, and watching the sunset, while telling stories about his travels and friends.
He also was involved in the community, serving as a councilman, a member of the Cokato Volunteer Fire Department, a member of Cokato Charitable Trust, on the board of directors of the State Bank of Cokato, a member of the Color Guard for the American Legion, and on the finance committee at St. Mary’s Church in Waverly.
He was known for his friendly personality and great sense of humor.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Jayne Keeville; and his five sisters.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara; sons Jeffrey (Suzanne) their children, Kyle (Jen) and Amy; John (Jodi), their children, Mitchell and Dustin; and daughters Debra (Mark Pehrson), their children Christopher (Katie), and Emily Anne (Tony Ebner); and Cindy Kaczmarek.
Ray is further survived by his son-in-law, Gerald Keeville, Jerry’s son, Jeremy (Renee) and their daughter Tenley Keeville; step grandchildren Ross, Kera and Katy; and a special foreign exchange student, Angela Bosso (Cesar, Julia and Matheus).
The funeral service took place Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waverly.
Visitation was Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato, with a 7 p.m. prayer service; and continued Wednesday at the church, one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements were by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato; www.swansonpeterson.com.