Ray Elmer Harper Jr., 89, passed away June 26, 2011, at the Hood River Care Center with family by his side. He was born Aug. 30, 1921, in Redmond, Ore., to Ray Elmer Harper Sr. and Olive Lid (Buckner) Harper.
Ray grew up in the Hood River Valley and moved to Seattle before the war to work for Boeing building the B-17 bombers. He served our country proudly in the U.S. Army Air Corp and came full circle working in a B-17 training facility and even saw some of the B-17s that he helped build at Boeing while in the service.
Ray never flew in the service but always had a passion to do so and after his discharge he and his brother took lessons together and became a licensed pilot, occasionally flying until the late 1990s.
Ray worked for Diamond Fruit as a lift-truck operator for many years but he also managed the roller skating rink with his brother at the old Barrett School. It is while at the roller rink that there was a little gal who couldn't skate and spent more time on the ground than on her wheels. But with a little coaching and instructing she was skating before she knew it.
That little gal was Shirley Irene Davis, whom Ray married four months later on May 16, 1953. To this union were blessed two children: Terry and Jeanette.
Ray had a love of music and played guitar in a local band with Lloyd Mays on drums and Buddy Wilcox piano and accordion. They played around the local clubs, churches and at each other's homes. Ray shared his love of music and guitar with his daughter and Jeanette fondly remembers time that she and her father would play together.
Ray had a strong faith and was an active member of the Hood River Seventh-day Adventist Church. He loved to garden; flowers and vegetables; and he enjoyed his trips to the coast (Cannon Beach) and trips to Ka-Nee-Tah; but above all he was a family man and loved to be with his family.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Irene, in 2001; his parents; brother, Bob, and sister, Elsie Carlton.
He is survived and will be dearly missed by his children: Jeanette Martinez and her husband, Jimmie, of Hood River, Ore., and Terry Harper, of Wilsonville, Ore.; granddaughter, Kayla, and great-grandson, Haiden.
A memorial service with military honors is planned for 4 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at the Hood River Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1223 Oak St. Private graveside rites were held at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals, Cremations, Receptions), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.
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