Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ray Jefferson

Ray Jefferson, 96, passed away of natural causes on Dec. 27, 2012. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 17, 1916, to Thomas and Lorena Jefferson of Burley, Idaho. 

Ray was raised in the Burley area, attending all Burley schools and graduating from Burley High School in 1934. He went on to attend college in Missouri and Pocatello, Idaho. Wanting to become a pharmacist, he completed four years of grad school only to change his direction. After many years of service to his country, as well as working for the Union Pacific Railroad, he became a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and guidance counselor for the Blaine County School District. 

Ray was involved in many community projects, such as heading up the bond election that funded the high school that is now the CSI Campus in Hailey. He was an elder member of the Presbyterian Church in Ketchum, attending since 1955, and helped to build the church and choir over the years. 

Ray married Mary Alice Cobb in 1947. After applying for the same job of setting up the reservation department for the Challenger Inn at Sun Valley, they fell in love, worked together and began their 65-year journey. All their married life they enjoyed our area and most of its outdoor activities. Ray was the standup bass player for the Johnny Lister Trio, performing in the Duchin Room of Sun Valley for many years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman.

Both of them were so fortunate to have lived here during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s to the present. In the ’60s, Ketchum was still a very small town. Ray used to love to say how he and his Ketchum Drug Store coffee friends would joke about how they would like to put up a gate at Timmerman Hill, not letting anyone else in, in hopes to keep the area a secret. 

Ray loved electronics and ham radio gear. He worked and operated it into his 90s. He received his training in the service, and would travel in bombers during World War II, keeping communications through means of Morse code. He was retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. He also retired from the School District as well as the Union Pacific Railroad. He had a great retirement and was physically able to enjoy it. He was a loving, caring father and grandfather, someone you could always count on. He loved to talk politics and was a devoted Democrat to the end. He will truly be missed. 

He is survived by his sister, Doris Thomson of Lake Oswego, Ore.; son Greg and wife, Sherri, of Hailey; grandchild Mark and wife, Trina; and two great-grandchildren, Jaden and Lane of Boise; grandchild Jason (Jake) of Hailey; and son Tony and grandchildren Mia and Alberta of Hailey. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, who passed only 10 months earlier in March 2012, and sister Marie DeRoust of Lake Oswego, Ore. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Idaho public radio and television. At Ray's request there will be no funeral service. Cremation was under the care of Wood River Chapel.

Friends are invited to leave a condolence, share a memory or photo, and light a candle at

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