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Raymond J. Zowada, U. S. Army – Colonel (Retired)


Ray Zowada

Ray was born July 1, 1922, in Kooi, Wyoming, to Joseph and Theresa (Washut) Zowada. He died on August 10, 2013, at Coulee Medical Center, Grand Coulee, Wash.

Ray was raised in Sheridan, Wyoming, and graduated from Sheridan High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society and excelled in football and track. He attended Creighton University on a football scholarship and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting. He played football for Creighton and received an offer to try out with the New York Giants of the National Football League.

World War II interrupted his education and his NFL dreams as he entered the U.S. Army on June 2, 1943. He was a member of the 4th Infantry Division/22nd Infantry Regiment and landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. He was wounded on November 19, 1944, . He was sent to Northampton, England, to recuperate and then returned to the European Theater of Operation. He was honorably discharged on July 20, 1946, and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. He was recalled to active duty from 1950 – 1952. He had earned the rank of Colonel when he retired in July of 1982. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, European Theater Ribbon with three bronze stars, American Theater Ribbon, Occupation Medal (Germany), Belgium Croix de Guerre, WWll Victory Medal, and Presidential Citation with one cluster.

Ray married Ann VanValkenburg on December 25, 1943. Their marriage of nearly 70 years was blessed with their four children; Mary Ann (Mimi), Steve, Mike and Greg.

After the war Ray and Ann moved to Coulee Dam, Washington, to start their life together. Ray went to work for Coulee Dam Stores, Incorporated and was store manager for over 30 years. He also spent some time as the community pool lifeguard, fill-in theater projectionist, working in a greenhouse, doing the books for the church, and operating a small bakery.

Ray was a member of the VFW and St. Henry’s Catholic Church. He was an avid goose hunter and loved to fish. He also enjoyed horseshoes and bowling.

Surviving Ray are his wife of 69 years Ann (at the family home), sons Steve (Dory) of Montrose, Colorado, Mike (Vicki) of Electric City, Washington, Greg of Spokane, Washington, and brother George of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Grandchildren – Steve Jr., Amanda, Lindsay, Ryan and Nicholas and great grandchildren Lucia, Lilly, Karsen, Hope, Jaeger, and Liam.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Anna, Joseph, Helen, Emil, Ludine, Stella , and Henry, daughter Mary Ann Nelson and granddaughter Melissa Peterson.

Services will be held Thursday, August 29 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Grand Coulee with burial at Spring Canyon Cemetery to follow.

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