Zane Eli Ramey was born Sept. 26, 1921 at his grandmother’s homestead in the Union Valley, near Chelan, while his mother visited from Oroville.
Upon returning to the Okanogan Valley, the Ramey’s made their home in the Tunk Creek area, where Zane and his siblings, attended school in the old one-room schoolhouse. After a time, the family moved to Oroville where Zane attended school through the eighth grade. It was there, in elementary school, that he would meet his future bride of 65 years, Laura Jean Kline. After quitting school to help support his family, Zane began to hone his mechanic skills, working in shops in the area. On Jan. 7, 1942, he joined the Navy and served his country, until he was honorably discharged on Christmas Day, 1945. Although, offered a career in the military, Zane was a country boy at heart and wanted nothing more than to return home to Oroville and marry his sweetheart, Laura Jean. Zane and Laura were married in a civil ceremony in Oroville on February 23, 1946.
Over the years, the couple had six children together Lauretta Jean, Cynthia Lou, Randall Zane, Shelley May, Debbie Sue and Jed Lee. While raising their family, Zane and Laura lived and worked throughout the Okanogan Valley. Zane worked as a logger and log truck driver and had his own business for several years. Laura Jean would do the bookkeeping, work seasonal in the orchards and apple packing sheds. She also worked for the Biles-Coleman sawmill for a time.
Zane was an honest, well respected, hard-working man who said what he meant and meant what he said. One thing that Zane enjoyed throughout his life was working on engines. He was always tinkering away on something. He loved to build custom vehicles, always whistling a sweet, old tune while he worked. He was happiest when he had his ‘IH’ cap and dirty coveralls on, hands greasy, knee deep in truck parts. He used to joke that he ‘loves the scent of diesel exhaust.’ In later years, he also enjoyed the yearly Elk Camp, with his two sons, Randy and Jed. Zane loved spending time outdoors and with his family. He was a man that enjoyed the simple pleasures of life.
After retiring in the early 1970’s Zane and Laura made their home in an RV and hit the road. They began wintering in Arizona where they made several friends among the other ‘snowbirds.’ Again, Zane was always working on a truck to fix up and sell. He would set up his make-shift shop out in the desert and get to work, sometimes with an audience, which he loved. They did this for almost 20 years before deciding to buy property and settle down again in Riverside, Wash. where they made their home for the next 20 years.
In 2007, Zane and Laura moved to Apple Meadows assisted living in Omak, where they resided until October 2009. They then moved to Centralia, Wash., to be closer to their daughter Shelley, who could further assist in their care. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Zane passed away peacefully, on Nov. 18, 2011.
He will be greatly missed by a large family who loved him dearly. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Laura Jean; five of his children Cynthia Ramey, Cottonwood, Ariz., Randy (Gale) Ramey, Medford, Ore., Debbie (Steve) Wertz, Omak, Wash., Shelley Ramey, Centralia Wash. and Jed (Tami) Ramey of Central Point, Ore. He is also survived by one brother, Vance and sister, Betty Minske, of Wenatchee, Wash. Zane also leaves behind 15 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Daughter, Lauretta Ramey, passed away in 2008, as did her son Ross Shook in 1984.
Zane was preceded in death by his parents, John ‘Hoge’ Ramey in 1929, Margaret in 1978; as well as his brothers: Wayne, Max, Keith, Wilton, Carl and sister, Shirley.
Zane will be laid to rest at the Oroville Cemetery with a memorial service to be followed this spring. Details will be announced at a later date. Cards of condolences can be sent to 3509 Rodcin Ave. Centralia, WA 98531.