Raymond Dean Wright, Jr., was born on December 18, 1942, in Guthrie Center. He was the son of Raymond D. and Phyllis E. (Whitman) Wright. He went to one-room country schools in his early years while helping on the farm. He participated in football, basketball, track, baseball, choir, drama and graduated in 1961 from Guthrie Center High School. Then he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the State College of Iowa. Ray began his first profession as a driver’s education teacher for various high schools in Waterloo in 1966, serving on the collective bargaining team for the local teachers’ association for several years. On Mother’s Day in 1966, he gave a ride back to Cedar Falls to a college student who would become the love of his life, Ronna Jene Hobbs. The two were married on January 28, 1967, in Kingsley. They became the parents of Bethanie and Christopher. Ray earned a master’s degree in secondary (safety) education from Michigan State University (1970) before he embarked upon his next profession.
Due in part to his negotiating experience, Ray was named the first personnel director for the City of Cedar Falls in 1976. In 1980, Ray moved his family to New Hampton to take the position of human resources director for Sara Lee Bakery Company. In 1989, he took the job he held until his retirement in 2005, which was the human resources manager for American Meter in Nebraska City. Ray and Ronna retired in Council Bluffs, where Ray worked part-time driving vehicles for U-Haul and teaching driver’s education for the Council Bluffs Community Schools. His recent health issues forced his move to a rehabilitation facility. He died on July 5, 2021, surrounded by his family at Immanuel Hospital in Omaha.
Ray employed his human resources abilities not only at work, but also in his churches. He held the position of moderator on several occasions and served on several pastoral search committees during his life. Most recently those skills were put to use at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Council Bluffs, where he was a member.
Along with time spent with his family, his passions in life were grilling, hunting, fishing, golfing, reading, singing with the Nebraska City Apple Corps and various church choirs, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Iowa Hawkeyes. He loved attending his grandson’s activities, especially watching him play baseball. May the special memories he made with his family and friends while doing these things be of comfort to them during this time.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his mother and father-in-law, Warren and Keith Hobbs; and brother-in-law, Gerald Mueller.
Survivors include: his wife of almost 54 ½ years, Ronna; his daughter Bethanie (John) Dolnicek and Micah of Lawrence, NE; his son Christopher (Mandy) Wright and children of Dakota Dunes, SD; brother David (Ann) Wright of Asheville, NC; sister-in-law Cathy Mueller and brother-in-law Brian (Marcell) Hobbs both of Kingsley; nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Services will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021, at Hoy Kilnoski Funeral Home in Council Bluffs.
Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery in Moville at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to the family.