Longtime area rancher Ray Visser died peacefully Sunday morning, February, 3, 2019. Ray was born at home in Havillah, Washington in 1925 to Martha and Garritt Visser. Their large family included ten boys and one girl.
Ray enjoyed his childhood on the farm and “had fond memories of happily working.” He relished Sunday afternoon get-togethers with cousins and neighbors. Ray and his identical twin, Roy, were gifted athletes and played many sports. Ray’s real love, however, was baseball. He pitched and played ‘semi-pro’ baseball for decades throughout the area and into Canada.
In 1951, he married Ina Dammel of Oroville, Wash. They had four children and made their living farming and ranching on the family homestead. Ray was the go-to person for numerous neighbors and friends who sought his advice on many issues. Whether treating injured livestock or locating a well, Ray was always ready to lend a helping hand and was known throughout the county for his fair dealings. Ray had an amazing eye for cattle and would notice a cow on a ridge or glance at a herd and spot pink eye or some other malady in an instant.
A good steward of the land, Ray realized you needed to care for the land if you wanted it to care for you. He replaced the eroded farm ground with grass, served on the Soil Conservation Board, became a certified tree farmer and placed over 100 bluebird houses on the ranch. He was named the Washington State Wildlife Farm of the Year in 1991 for his conservation efforts.
He was known for giving complementary sleigh rides, sometimes even to those who just happened to be driving by. Ray loved to hunt and fish and cherished the numerous horse packing trips he took into various wilderness areas. He valued the church and passed his Christian values on to his children. He served as the head usher into his 90s.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, infant Julius, Robert, Hugh, Roy, Gerald, and Marlowe; sister. Emma; grandson, Brent and several nieces and nephews.
He is survived by three brothers, Wes (Judy) and Dwayne (Stella), all of East Wenatchee and Dwight (Jean) of Trail, BC. He is also survived by his wife of 67 years, four children, Alan (Chris) of Prince George, BC, Rae (Mark) of Havillah, Blaine (Barb) of Wenatchee and Nola (Tim) of Spokane; eight grandchildren, 8.5 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Havillah. Memorial contributions may be made out to Heifer Project International.
Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.