Ernest W. Ray, Jr., 79

Ernest William Ray Jr., age 79, of Litchfield, died Friday Dec. 20, 2019, at the Paynesville Hospital.

His funeral service will be Saturday, Dec. 28 at 11 a.m. at the St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Litchfield. Interment will be at Ripley Cemetery in Litchfield.

There will be visitation Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Johnson-Hagglund Funeral and Cremation in Litchfield, continuing Saturday one hour prior to the service at church.

Johnson-Haaglund Funeral and Cremation in Litchfield is handling the arrangements. Online guestbook available at www.johnsonhagglund.com.

Ernest was born May 23 1940, in Watkins, the son of Ernest and Rosella (Stenger). He was baptized at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Watkins in 1940, and confirmed at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Watkins in 1954.

Ernest graduated from Kimball High School in 1958.

He was united in marriage to Alva D. Retzlaff Aug. 14, 1965, at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Litchfield.

Ernie grew up south of Watkins, and moved into the city of Litchfield until buying a hobby farm south of Litchfield in 1978, where he raised his family and lived the rest of his life.

As a young man, he worked as a farmhand, and at Litchfield Produce. He then learned to weld and worked road construction jobs, including on Interstate 94, Anderson Crane, Johnson Brothers, and Palm Industries.

Ernie worked at Hutchinson Manufacturing for 13 years, then Towmaster in Litchfield, and New Flyer in St. Augusta. He retired in 2002, following an injury at work.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Litchfield.

Ernie enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, caring for pets, and hobby farming. He collected coins and brass figurines, and attended many horse and tack sales. He also enjoyed threshing shows, auctions, playing cards with friends and family, driving tractor at the Nelson Farm, taking Alva to “therapy” at the casino, and watching wrestling, “Family Feud,” “The Price is Right,” “Hee Haw” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

Ernie was always willing to help family and friends when needed.

He is survived by his wife, Alva of Litchfield; children Kyle (Amber) Ray of Litchfield, and Rosalyn (Erick) Kotila of Cokato; granddaughter Hannah; sisters Jane (Dick) Fisher, and Judy (Myron) Kuechle, all of Watkins; and many nephews, nieces, other family, and friends.

Ernest was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Rosella; and sisters Betty Scholtes and Joan Loch.

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