Raymond J. Spaeth, 89, of Sparta, died Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Tomah VA Medical Center. Ray was born to Peter and Anna (Mlsna) Spaeth on January 29, 1932, in Melvina, the fourth of 14 children. After many adventures growing up in Cashton and attending Cashton High School, Ray proudly served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1950-1953, spending a majority of his time of service based in Sturgeon Bay, WI.
Ray met and married Judith Farrell, his devoted wife of nearly 62 years. Together they raised their four children, Jim (Loraine) of Sparta, Tom (Relenda) of Onalaska, Donna (Bruce) of Westby, and Diane of Hartford. After working their way with their young family through a couple of re-locations, they settled in their home in Sparta where Ray spent his career as the Meat Market Manager for Super Valu stores.
Ray and Judy raised their family with a foundation of faith and family and work traditions that are woven through the many memories we hold dear. Ray’s passion for raising beagles and hunting rabbits was second only to his drive to provide for his family. Ray and Judy always had room at the table for one more, and the joy of a grilled-just-right steak was his favorite indulgence (with a good martini, of course).
Travels with Judy in their retirement, family trips to The Cabin, hunting and fishing with his boys and his many hunting buddies, and keeping a father’s watchful eye on his daughters filled Ray’s very busy days. He was the most animated fan in the stands (and sometimes on the floor) at the kids’ basketball, volleyball, and motocross events. He found his peace and relaxation in his workshop crafting woodwork pieces that fill our homes. In his later years, watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow and thrive brought him much joy and pride.
In addition to his wife and children, Ray is survived by grandchildren Beth (Bobby) Hess; Nick (Chelsea) Johnson; Josh (Brittany) Johnson; Levi and Evan Spaeth; Spring and Victor Spaeth; Elissa (Matt) Mahan; Nicholas Zillmer; and Seth, Molly, and Maggie Kieser.
He is survived by great-grandchildren Nolan, Natalie, Brady, Hazel, Jay, Bo, Alyah, Easton, Evie, Mabel, Caden, Corbin, Triton.
He is also survived by siblings Edmond (Ruth), Rose, Wilma, Charlene (Cliff), Albert (Norma), Larry (Kalla), and Angela, as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his siblings, Francis (KIA, Korean War), Tony, LaVerne, Cletus, Peter, and Mary.
A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 17, 2021 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sparta, with Father Eric Berns officiating. Burial with full military honors will be held in the church cemetery.
Family and friends are invited to call from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, with a 6 p.m. rosary. Visitation will continue from 10 a.m. until time of services on Monday at the church. Donations would be gratefully accepted in Ray’s memory to St. Patrick’s Parish/School, the Tomah VA Medical Center, or a charity of your choice.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.
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