Celebrating the life of Ray Clare Stavig
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On April 14, 2020, Ray Stavig peacefully passes away due to complications associated with his long debilitating battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Many thanks to the LEOFF 1 Board, Brookdale – Nine Mile, Hospice of Spokane, family and friends for their care and support during Ray’s devastating illness.
Ray was born in Britton, South Dakota in 1936. He moved to Spokane with his parents, Elmer and Elise, during World War II where they hoped for a better life working in the wartime defense industry. He grew up on Spokane’s north side attending Hamilton Elementary School and John R. Rogers High School. Ray contracted Rheumatic fever, which substantially hindered his academic’s, and he ended up leaving high school prior to graduation.
Not one to be held back and seeing the value in a good education he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. His desire to complete his education and see the world would help guide him through the next few years. Marine Corp discipline allowed him to complete his high school education and even take a few college credits. Ray had a natural leadership ability, and through Marine Corp training and experience, he was able to hone those skills and attain rank of Sergeant.
Seeing the world as a Marine went unfulfilled. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California during his enlistment and only once was he able to briefly embark on an overseas adventure. Ray deployed with his unit to Lebanon but as they reached the 23-mile mark off the coast of California their troop ship started having mechanical problems, so they diverted to Bremerton, Washington for repairs. Ray and his unit returned to Camp Pendleton where he completed his enlistment. Qualities Ray already possessed were reinforced in the Marine Corp. Dedicating, Discipline, Duty, Honor, and Loyalty. These would be the core values he would live by and try to instill in other for the rest of his life. Semper Fi!!!
Ray’s values lead him into law enforcement where he was hired as a deputy sheriff by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. He would rise through the ranks and eventually retire as a Lieutenant after 32 years of service. He either worked and /or supervised Patrol, Radio, Juvenile, Ident, Corrections and Spokane County 911. Personal professional accomplishments he was most proud of were the establishment and supervision of the first Spokane County Jail Work Release Program and later as the Director of Spokane County 911. During his directorship, he was responsible for the implementation and supervision of the Spokane County 911 as it transitioned from an out of date pencil and paper system into a modern, state of the art Computer Aided Dispatch System.
Ray was highly regarded by his peers and subordinates and was known for his fairness when dealing with people. Commonly traversing the state as part of his director duties he made a lasting impression and many friends. It was not uncommon for a family member also in law enforcement to run into one of Ray’s colleague friends. The conversation would usually start with, “You have a very uncommon surname and you wouldn’t by chance know Ray Stavig?” After an affirmative response, the conversation would go on for many minutes about how Ray and his family were doing, please tell Ray so-n-so says hello and Ray is such a good person.
Education remained a valued asset in Ray’s life. While working full-time, he attended college part-time and nights, and after eight years earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Washington University. He was the first in his family to earn such a degree. Ray’s desire for education extended beyond himself, both he and his loving wife of 54 years, Janelle, assisted family and friends financially and with housing so they could attain their academic dreams.
During Ray’s off time and following retirement he was finally able to fulfill his dream of seeing the world. He and Janelle traveled through most of the United States, Canada, Europe and China. However, his favorite spot would always be the little yellow cabin that he and Janelle rented every fall at Arch Cape, Oregon. Simple was always better; reading, crossword puzzles, long walks on the beach, visiting with good friends and of course a nap with the crashing surf in the background. He was always the consummate host and chauffeur when family and friends visited.
After retirement, Ray remained busy with Janelle’s chore list, pool preparation for summertime family visits and he even found time to volunteer for the Spokane Regional Conventions Visitor’s Bureau. His deputy days gave him incredible knowledge of the area, which made him an excellent resource for travelers. He also grew as he met new and interesting people from all over the world.
Ray was a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. He was our protector; always with a kind word and his silence at times spoke volumes.
We love you, Ray!!! You will be sorely and sadly missed.
Ray is survived by his wife, Janelle; sister, Shari; daughter, Lorie; sons, Kier and Kriag; grandchildren, Ashley, Katie, Kelsey, and Emily, great-grandchildren, and numerous other family members. Ray was preceded in death by his father, Elmer; mother Elsie; and sister Lorraine.
Due to conditions related to COVID-19, services will not be held at this time.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Ray’s honor to the Alzheimer’s association or a charity of choice.
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