Ray Allen Benzel, formally of Yoncalla, passed away peacefully Feb. 20, 2018, at the age of 86. Ray was born Nov. 19, 1931, in Live Oak Calif., and worked with his family on their farm until the age of 17, when he drove his Harley to Oak Ridge Ore., where he found work and started his family.
The years that followed found Ray and his five kids living in Yoncalla, where he and his new wife, Joan, and daughter, Judy, became part of the family.
Ray and Joan started Benzel Equipment Rental, doing rock crushing, repairing heavy equipment, and cement work before deciding to buy a ranch in Wamic, Ore., in 1974 to find better weather, never forgetting the friends from Yoncalla while meeting and becoming part of the community in their new home town.
Ray and Joan spent the next few years clearing rocks off their land while running their business, growing alfalfa, cattle and garlic plus working in the forest as part of the fire prevention team.
Ray’s hobbies included; flying and any air show close to home. He remodeled Model T Fords, Henry Ford was his hero, thinking the combustion engine was amazing.
With a view of Mt. Hood in their back yard, nightly trips to the field to move irrigation pipes, always gave them a great sense of accomplishment and joy.
Ray is preceded in death by parents, Fred and Bertha Benzel; his loving wife of 52 years, Paula Joan Benzel; son, Ray A. Benzel Jr. (Curly). He is survived by Judy (Larry) Hoagland of Creswell, Ore., Tenna Shoultz Russell Springs, Ky., Sharron Boger Louis, Ky., Patsy Richards (Bill) Lake Oswego, Ore., Ed Benzel (Cindy) The Dalles Ore., and daughter-in-law, Nancy Benzel Yoncalla, Ore.; 12 grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
“Our family would like to thank the staff at Sheldon Park Assisted living for the wonderful care they gave to both of our parents, thank you from all the Benzel family.”
A family gathering will take place at a later date.
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