With great sorrow, the Walter family announces that Mr. Wonderful Raymond (Ray) Walter, who never met a stranger…passed on March 25,2023. Why was he so great? Why was he so wonderful? Well…let us tell you.
Ray was born on January 2nd during the great blizzard of 1949 in North Platte, Nebraska to Thomas Christian and Francis Marie (Bradley) Walter. He was one of four children born to this union, residing in Denver, Colorado for several years before moving back to Nebraska and graduating from Cozad High School in 1967. He then boldly went where no one in his family had gone before…college. At Kearney State College, Ray met his future wife and co-pilot Jeanette, obtained an undergraduate degree in Education, joined a gang (Cottonmill), and eventually received a master’s degree in Administration. Ray and Jeanette eventually settled in McCook with their three children, where they have lived for the past forty-five years.
Husband, father, grandfather, brother, puppy dad, and friend, Ray played many roles throughout his life…but none so influential as that of teacher (although some may put money on his role as a polygamist in Paint Your Wagon). Ray (a.k.a. hairbag by his 80s students) guided many lives throughout his teaching career, inspiring creativity in many a young soul and earning the title of “favorite teacher” from many of his zipperhead students.
After a football injury at age 52 nearly ended his teaching career prematurely (take that Tom Brady!) Ray eventually “retired” and became busier than ever, expanding his influence as a mentor throughout southwest Nebraska, where a shortage of teachers drove the school districts to recruit him to teach subjects a bit out of his comfort zone. However, Ray’s larger than ever heart never turned anyone away (for which the ever-revolving herd of cats on his patio is thankful), and his volunteer work with the Rotary, food pantry, and Art Guild will continue to positively impact many throughout the community long after his death.
Outside of teaching, Ray enjoyed music, art, photography, fishing, epic camping trips (e.g., road trip to Alaska with a family of five!), sci-fi movies and books, and more than anything a good conversation. You could never send him “to town” to get milk, because he wouldn’t come back for three hours after running into, well…anyone. While he may not remember telling you about his recent good deal (have you heard about his dutch oven…), all who spoke with him benefited from comedic nature and positive attitude. Awesome possum!
Ray is survived by his wife, Jeanette Walter of McCook, NE; three children, Joshua (Lindsey) Walter of Ft. Collins, CO, Adam (Andrea) Walter of Lincoln, NE, and Emily (Joel) Bitler of Ft. Collins, CO; and nine grandchildren, Benjamin (Ben), Jazzmin (Jazzy), Elizabeth (Lizzy), Nathaniel (Nate), Adalyn, Silas, Elijah, Hazel, and Linnea, and of course his “Ford-dog” Mag-pie (Maggie). Also surviving is a niece Tina(Kyle) Rimpley of Cozad, NE. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, and three sisters; Lois, Marion and Marilyn.
Take the second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning, keep the campfire fire warm, and we will see you again. Hope there’s good fishin’ and Christmas music year-round in heaven. Until then your absence will be felt by all.
Memorials are suggested in lieu of flowers to the McCook Christian Church 507 West B. St. McCook, NE 69001, McCook Rotary Club P.O. Box 562 McCook, NE 69001, McCook Art Guild 209 Norris Ave. McCook, NE 69001, and the McCook Pantry 509 West 1st. McCook, NE 69001.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at the McCook Christian Church with Associate Minister Clark Bates, officiating.
Private family burial will follow at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Raymond T. Walter, please visit our floral store.
McCook Christian Church
507 West B St, McCook NE 69001
509 West 1st st, McCook NE 69001
McCook Art Guild
209 Norris Ave., McCook NE 69001
McCook Rotary Club
P.O. Box 562, McCook NE 69001