Obituary of Raymond Stewart
Raymond A. Stewart passed from this earth on April 18, 2018 after a brief illness, two weeks shy of his 101st birthday. He was born on May 6, 1917 in Holdingford, MN (aka Sterns) to Alexander and Mary (Warsecka) Stewart. As a child, he moved to the Fergus Falls area where he attended Fergus Falls Schools. As a young man, Ray joined FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC); he then married Charlotte (Block) in 1935 and they had two children. His dedication to military service began when he joined the U.S. Army in circa 1936 and was assigned to Ft. Snelling, MN. Ray’s MN unit became what is known as the Third U S Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” the unit most known for being Arlington Cemetery’s guardians of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Army’s official ceremonial unit and official escort to the President in WA DC. Ray was a lifetime and eldest living member of “The Old Guard” at the time of his death. Last September, Ray was selected and honored to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
After his military service, Ray worked in numerous careers, to include the Army Corp of Engineers in AK, Boeing, General Motors, a Project Managers for various large construction projects, (ie. original construction for sections of Interstate 5, Highway 20, bridges, dams, buildings, the Alyeska/Alaska Pipeline, as well as in the Hawaiian Islands.
Ray was an original founding member, past President, and Honorary Governor of Pioneer Human Services based in Seattle, WA, starting in 1962. From extremely humble beginnings, five men first developed a halfway house for alcoholics and ex-offenders; since then, PHS has grown immensely and now employs over 1,000 people in over 50 locations, providing 10,000+ people a year with tools to rebuild their lives. PHS is a national leader in social services enterprise that serves individuals in WA State released from prison or jail and those in recovery who are in need of treatment, mental health, housing, job skills, training, and employment. “Stewart House” in Seattle is named after Ray.
Ray was an adventurer and loved to travel; at age 80, and being fiercely-proud of his Scottish heritage, he hiked 110 miles of the Scottish Highlands by himself. At age 99, he traveled to Cuba with grandson Michael Stewart. On his 100th birthday, he traveled to Rome and took communion at the Vatican! Ray was a private pilot and was involved in many civic organizations to include Veterans of Foreign Wars, Shriners International, Scottish Rite, Elks Club, as well as The Stewart Society of Edinborough, Scotland. He was a firm believer in volunteerism and helped establish many different organizations to include: Bellevue Fire Department, Renton Civil Air Patrol and Cub Scouts. He belonged to the King County Sheriff Auxiliary as well as Ferndale Sr. Center and local Catholic Church.
Preceded in death were his parents and stepfather Joseph Opatz; wives Charlotte, Katie, and Flourine; brothers Clarence and Alexander (Joey), sister Evelyn Devorak.
Survivors include son Raymond A. Stewart Jr.(Julie), their children Michael Stewart (Reem) and daughter Anne Stewart Ross (Tim). Additional grandchildren include Raymond Stewart III, Tammy Brummel (Paul), Dana Cawdy (Tim), Cindy Dangel (Bill), as well as Ray’s daughter Sharon Stewart Attridge (Scott) and Sharon’s children Pam, Paula, Erika, Rachel, and Rebecca; numerous great-grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews. Remaining siblings are Del Spranger, Leona Lackner, Janet Holler, Mark (Gloria)Opatz, Mary Juhl, plus many friends across his lifetime. Anyone who knew Ray loved his sense of humor!
Donations may be made in Ray’s name to Whatcom Hospice or Ferndale Senior Center.
Memorial service will be held Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 1:00pm at Moles Farewell Tributes - Greenacres (5700 NW Dr. Ferndale, WA 98248). Private family interment.