Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Ray McCown


April 16, 2020

Ray McCown passed away March 28 after a long battle with bone cancer. His life was filled with love and joy, shared with his wife Jean, their children, extended family and many friends.

Ray was born in 1932, to Viola and Chet McCown. He spent his entire life in Garfield, graduating from high school in 1951 where he showed leadership and enjoyed participating in sports, drama and academics.

In the early part of his career he worked as the bookkeeper for Dave Neal Manufacturing. Ray later learned many skills and became a licensed electrician and plumber, which helped him become a successful building contractor. As he saw opportunities in the community he developed services, such as, garbage pickup and coal delivery. When his mother's home was damaged by fire, Ray built her a new one. Even after retirement he enjoyed using his skills to help others with projects. He seemed to know when there were needs in the community and was always there to help. After Hurricane Katrina he traveled to Mississippi to help repair homes in Bay St. Louis.

Ray enjoyed golfing and attending area sporting events, including high school and WSU football and basketball games. Jean and Ray both loved playing bridge and traveling. They drove through all 50 states as well as spending five weeks in Europe in 1990.

Family was everything to Ray. He encouraged his kids to participate in sports, music and to work hard in school. He enjoyed attending their activities no matter how busy he was. He modeled good citizenship with projects to beautify Garfield, including planting trees and building welcome signs for both entrances of town. A beautiful gazebo was built in the city park by Ray and other volunteers.

Ray was involved in many civic activities over the years including the volunteer fire department, serving as mayor, he was a member of the Garfield School Board and the Chamber of Commerce. His passion was his town and he spent his life giving and serving it.

Survivors include his wife, Jean; sisters, Sue Dvorak and Jane Franks; son, Craig (Debbie); daughters, Debbie Kock (Greg), Marcia McEvoy (Tim) and Jill Carlson (Ted); 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

A private burial was held on April 3 at the Garfield Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life will take place in Garfield this summer.

The family requests donations be made to Kindred Hospice or the Garfield Cemetery district.


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