James Ray Mathers, age 96, of Green Lake, Wis., passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at his home with his family by his side.
Ray was born Jan. 12, 1917, in North Henderson, Ill., the son of John Albert and Mary Anna (Rich) Mathers. He graduated from Alexis High School in Alexis, Ill., and graduated with his bachelor of science degree in June of 1940 from the University of Illinois. Ray served our country as a Major in the United States Army during WWII stationed in the Pacific theatre. He led his troops to safety despite constant artillery fire and was awarded the Bronze Star medal. Ray’s MP unit was assigned to guarding General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, Ray worked for Dekalb Seed Corn company and in 1948 married Gloria J. Hatch in Hollywood, Calif. He then worked in her family’s business at the Chicago Stock Yards in Chicago, Ill. After the move to Green Lake, Ray owned and operated his farm and worked for Green Giant Co. in Ripon. Ray was a member of Mizpah Masonic Lodge in Chicago, Phalanx National and Professional Military Fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) Fraternity and was its president in 1939 when attending University of Illinois.
Survivors include his wife, Gloria Mathers of Green Lake; five children, Stephen Ray (Rande) Mathers of Zion, Ill., Karen Jeanne (Michael) Lehner of Princeton, Wis., Ronald Frederick (Cindy) Mathers of Phoenix, Ariz., Jeremy James (Annette) Mathers of Tinley Park, Ill. and Robert Alan (Rosie) Mathers of Oshkosh, Wis.; fourteen grandchildren, Joshua (Natalie) Mathers, Bree (Eric) Blazak, Zachary Mathers, Micah (Sarah) Lehner, Nathan (Christina) Lehner, Andrew (Kristel) Lehner, Skylar, Jena, Lindsay, Lauren, Cathryn, Derek, Kirstin and David Mathers; nine great-grandchildren, Spinnaker and Eliza Blazak, Avery and Aubri Mathers, Vera, Simone, Margot, Sadie and Maxwell Lehner; two sisters-in-law, Pat Mathers of Galesburg, Ill. and Joyce W. Booth of Jupiter, Fla., and brother-in-law, Eldon H. (Madeline) Hatch of Naperville, Ill.; and many nieces and nephews. Ray was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Clyde (Nell), John (Josephine), Gerald and Eugene Mathers; sisters, Rose K. Mathers and Irene (Ralph) Bjorkman; and nieces and nephews.
Ray’s actions and character reflected his Christian faith and spoke volumes to all who knew him. He loved working on continuous improvements to farm conservation and enjoyed planning for the next project.
Visitation for Ray will be held on Friday, March 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home, 515 Mayparty Dr., Ripon.
Funeral service for Ray will be held on Friday, March 8, at 11 a.m. at Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home in Ripon. The Rev. Karen Gygax Rodriguez will officiate. Full Military Honors will follow immediately after the service. A private family interment will then take place at Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake. Memorials may be directed to Federated Church of Green Lake, 489 Scott St. P.O. Box 471, Green Lake, WI 54941.
Please visit www.butzinmarchant.com to send online condolences.