The fish and game of the Pacific Northwest are resting easier since the passing of Ray Sjoblom March 11 at age 96.
Ray was born December 9, 1923, in Monroe, Washington, to parents Albert and Annice. His sister, Elaine, was just 16 months older than he, and baby sister Alta arrived ten years later. His dad was a shingle sawyer, so they lived in many small mill towns in Washington (Fairfax, Mineral, Elbe) and Forks on the Olympia Peninsula.
He grew up in the middle of the depression but claimed he never knew he was poor since all the other kids also wore patched clothes, and he was never hungry. Yes, they hunted out of season, and he was allowed to hunt alone at age 11. He shot his first deer at age 14. He was also a superb berry picker, especially huckleberries. His mom made a pie every day. Fittingly, his last bite of food was pie!
He was a good student but preferred being outdoors. He lived like Huckleberry Finn, and along with his lifelong friend Bob Crawford (aka Tom Sawyer), they hunted and fished together over 70 years. He was the happiest hiking into high lakes of the Cascades, using his inflatable raft to catch a limit of trout.
World War II began when he was 18 and in his first quarter of college at the University of Washington. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 with the ambition of becoming an aviator. He benefited from the GI bill and was a member of Theta Xi fraternity. Ray later worked for the Carnation Company, delivering ice cream in the Seattle area for 35 years. He and his family enjoyed the free ice cream perk.
Ray met "the love of his life,” Peggy, when he was 40 years old. Together they raised many children, including foster children. Ray had two sons, Gary and Dean, from his first marriage and stepson Mike. Janet finally arrived when he was 45 years old. She was the apple of his eye and always knew how deeply loved she was.
After retirement at age 62, he helped Peggy with her real estate business and also took over the cooking. She figured he didn’t starve while out hunting for two weeks so he could bring those skills to the home front. Over the years, his menus gradually expanded beyond meatloaf. Retirement also meant time honing his contract bridge skills. He was a very competitive card player and was proud of his Life Master achievement.
Though widowed at age 69, he understood life was long, and he would continue finding ways to learn, grow, and build new relationships. He traveled extensively all over the world, continued outdoor pursuits, and always exercised regularly (with the goal of optimal fitness by Fall hunting season). He celebrated his 80th birthday climbing Mt Adams.
Ray was not afraid of change, and it seemed that every time he had to give up something, he focused on what he could do instead. When he moved to Down Manor in Hood River at age 89 to be closer to Janet and family, he gave away his box of spices, proclaiming it was time for “easy living." He was ready to let someone else do the cooking! He gave up deer and elk hunting and became a turkey hunter instead. When pulmonary fibrosis limited his breathing, Ray bought himself a portable oxygen machine so he could carry on with bridge. He also purchased an electric wheelchair to scooter to meals and even over to The Ranch for an occasional shake.
Ray had a keen mind and was fiercely independent. He was a good friend to many and a fabulous father, grandfather, and brother. He is survived by sister Alta McNece, daughter Janet (Michael Clemett), sons Gary and Dean, and grandsons Owen & Sawyer Clemett, Aaron & Dylan Sjoblom.
He did not request a service, preferring more private and personal remembrances of him. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to his favorite charities, Fish Food Bank and The Salvation Army.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.