Ramon Paul Mechtel, passed away Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, Wis. Ray was surrounded by love and family as he passed away, following a short bout with lung cancer.
Ray was born Jan. 17, 1935 in Caledonia to LeRoy and Norma (Holter) Mechtel. He was married to Patricia Ann McKenna, Nov. 25, 1957 at St. Peters Catholic Church, Caledonia. They were later divorced.
After graduating from Caledonia High School, Ray proudly served in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict.Ray was a skilled and proficient machinist and tool and die maker. Ray worked for a number of years for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa. He then moved to Wichita, Kan. where he worked for Boeing Aviation. Upon retiring from Boeing, Ray moved back to his hometown of Caledonia.
Ray is survived by six daughters and one son: Rose (Jeff) Jergenson, Theresa (Rick) Wentland, Lyla (Brian) Whannel, Kelly Mechtel-Young, Tracy Mechtel, Debra Mechtel and Ramon (Cindy) Mechtel. Ray is also survived by twelve grandchildren: Michael Bush; Justen and Christine Fowler; Paul, Nicholas and Matthew Whannel; Emma and Zane Conley-Mechtel; Christopher and Sarah Mechtel; and Zach Mechtel. Ray also left behind four great- grandchildren, Zoe and Aviry Bush, Abagail Tran and Kimber Ray Mechtel. Ray is survived by brothers, Allen Mechtel, Caledonia and Bob (Peggy) Mechtel, Fla.; sister Judy (Don) Klug, Lewiston, and by sister-in-law, Pam Mechtel, Caledonia; lifelong best friend Jerry (Liz) Nelsen and honorary granddaughter Heidi Berge, all of Caledonia.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy and Norma Mechtel, his brother, Don Mechtel, and granddaughter, Vanessa Bush.
Ray lived life on his own terms and had a wonderful time doing so. He loved the Dallas Cowboys, Budweiser, driving a good car, crosswords and all forms of word puzzles, Sudoku, movies and friends. He had a quick and delightful dry wit. He was a warm and generous friend and father. He would do anything for friend or stranger. He was brave, strong and lionhearted, fierce, loyal and never wanted to let anyone down. If you were his friend, it was for life. He especially enjoyed being with Jerry at Jerry’s cabin where he could putter for hours. Ray was famous for his “inventions” and “contraptions.” Just the mention of those would cause delight and laughter to those who knew him.
No service or visitation will be held at this time. There will be a memorial gathering later this spring. Please raise a cold one and toast a humble giant of a man. Ray, this Bud’s for you.