KINGSFORD - Rodney J. Ray, 61, of Kingsford, passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2013, at the Oscar G. Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Iron Mountain, after a courageous 12-month battle with cancer.
He was born on March 27, 1952, in Cook County, Ill., the son of Joseph and Ethel (Paquin) Ray.
In 1970 prior to his high school graduation, Rodney entered the United States Army. He spent two years in Germany as a truck driver and Military Police officer.
On Sept. 13, 1975, he married Michele Seronko of Kingsford.
He received his GED in 1975. Rodney was employed for a couple of years at Grede Foundries. In the 1970s he received additional schooling and became an iron worker. He was a member of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Ironworkers, working for several unions, including Union Local 8 in Wisconsin and Union Local 783 in Michigan, throughout his 30-year career.
Rodney loved the outdoors and his camp. He enjoyed spending time there with his two sons, daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, and his good friend, Tim Curran. He also enjoyed gardening, hunting, and making maple syrup at camp. He also took an interest in old tractors. Rodney was a very talented woodworker and spent many hours creating shelves, coat racks, and beautiful jewelry boxes. Rodney was proud, soft-spoken and kind, and will be remembered as a gentleman.
He is survived by his dad, Joseph Ray of Kingsford; two sons, Adam (DeAnna) Ray of Kingsford and Darren (Jennifer) Ray of Hartford, Wis.; two brothers, Alan Ray and Kevin Ray, both of Kingsford; two special grandchildren, Devon Oslund Ray and Mikayla "Bugaboo" Ray, both of Kingsford; his ex-wife and friend, Michele Ray of Iron Mountain; his sister-in-law, Carrie Ray of Kingsford; brother-in-law, Ken Seronko of Hoffman Estates, Ill.; two special friends, Pam Wittock and Kristen Punzel; and aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Rodney was preceded in death by his mom, Ethel Ray; and his brother, Jeffrey Ray, both in 2000.
A celebration of Rodney's life will be held on Friday at Bob and Jerry's Bar in Kingsford starting at 4 p.m.
The family would like to say a special thank you to all the caring medical staff at the Oscar G. Johnson V.A. Medical Center.
Condolences to the family of Rodney J. Ray can be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.