Feb. 9, 1933-Nov. 28, 2017
Raymond Earl Thoen was born February 9, 1933 in Sandborn, WI. He died on November 28th, 2017 in Butte, MT.
He is preceded in death by his mother Rose Yonkovich Thoen, his father Albert (Al) Thoen, brother Harland Thoen, sister Marlene Thoen Richey, brother-in-law Ray Johnson, and nephew Eddy Bluse.
Ray is survived by his wife, Carole Jeanne Thoen, brother Arnold (Ole) Thone & Kathy, sister Georgie Bluse and Bryon, sister Nancy Johnson, brother Ronnie Thoen and Annie, Uncle George and Auntie Verla Yonkovich, son Harland Thoen and Diana, daughter Leila Pendergast and Kevin, son Perry Thoen, son Travis Thoen and daughter Colleen Campbell and Rich, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, two great-great grands, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ray served in the United States Coast Guard sailing the Great Lakes then served in the Army during the Korean Conflict in 1952 for two years where he received a Purple Heart for his injury. He also became a member of the American Legion and became the youngest Post Commander at age 33. He was only 39 when he earned his 32nd degree with the Masonic Lodge on March 11, 1972 in Bloomington, Ill.
Ray did various jobs in his early years from waiter, bartender, and electrician. While he was a service rep for American Machine and Foundry he studied for 5 years to become an Industrial Electrician. Ray went from job to job as an electrician wherever there was an overtime job. He was known as a traveler and was instrumental in the formation of the Bee’s.
The Brotherhood of Electrical Employees known as the Bees were a group formed to protect the workers and their moto was “A Day’s Work for A Day’s Pay in a Journeyman’s Like Manner”. Ray held the number 3 Bee card and was very active in the Bee’s and followed A.J. White trying to challenge the leadership of the IBEW. They traveled around the country to gain support from the rank and file. This was the first time anyone tried to challenge the leadership and they were attacked several times including having the hotel they were in to stage a rally set on fire. No one was hurt but the hotel was severely burned. Another time, while Ray was standing on the stage with A.J. White, a gunman entered the hall drew a gun and fired 3 times hitting Ray in the abdomen all three times. His buddies rushed him to the local hospital where he was operated on and lost most of his intestines. In later years Ray suffered with the results of that attack. They lost their challenge but gained the respect of the workers.
Ray then decided to settle down and became a realtor in Phoenix. Within a year he was teaching a class on how to list properties to other agents and became an Owner/Broker of the office. After the tax laws were changed he again picked up the traveling position of an Industrial Electrician. While Ray worked on the Grand Forks flood restoring power, his buddy called and asked him to come to Butte and help with the building of ASMI in Rocker. Ray did and there he met his wife, Carole. They were married for 18 years.
After they were married he bought an American Saddlebred mare and he lived his dream. He was
active in the Butte Vigilante Saddle Club. He loved the outdoors and became an active member of the
Mile High Back Country Horsemen. He worked on clearing trails, building bridges and spraying for weeds. He was not only a member but President and State Director of the Mile High BCH. He loved the conventions and loved selling 50/50 tickets with his team. He always sold more than tickets than the other team. Ray loved all the ladies and they loved his charm and wit. He also loved to play cribbage and at local tournaments he was more often than not in the money. He loved his home, wife and horse (not necessarily in that order).
His family and friends want to thank the VA for their care, the caregivers from Easter Seals, the nurses from Frontier Hospice and Genesis for their loving care at the end of Ray’s life.
There will be an open house from 1PM to 4PM at 251 East Badger Lane in Butte to celebrate his life. This will be on Saturday, May 19, 2018 and all his friends are welcome.