Obituary Record

Raymond Leon (Ray) Gustafson
Died on 4/5/2020
Buried in Fort Calhoun Cemetery

Omaha World Herald 12 April 2020

Gustafson, Raymond Leon "Ray" October 17, 1945 - April 5, 2020 Ray passed away at home surrounded by family on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Preceded in death by his son, John Paul Gustafson. He is survived by his wife, Jane Gustafson; children: Kay and Brad Carne of Omaha, Joe and Jamie Gustafson of Fremont NE, Raymond Gustafson of California, and Annie Gustafson of Kalispell, MT; grandchildren: Josephine, Evan, Vivian, Anna, Braden, and Mason; brother, John Gustafson; many other relatives and friends. Private Services will be held. Interment: Ft. Calhoun Cemetery, Ft. Calhoun, NE. For more details, visit BRAMAN MORTUARY - 72nd St. Chapel 1702 N. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68114 | (402) 391-2171

Obituary for Raymond Leon "Ray" Gustafson by Braman Mortuary

Ray Gustafson was born on October 17, 1945, to Arthur and Vivian Josephine (Crowder) Gustafson. He lived in Omaha nearly all his life with his family in Ponca Hills. Ray was a mechanic by hobby, a perfectionist by nature, and the best Dad in the world. He married Jane Sorensen and they had five wonderful children.

Growing up in North Omaha attending Miller Park Elementary, Ray enjoyed his childhood very much and made lifelong friends. After graduating from high school, Ray was a Machinist for the Army during the Vietnam War. He worked on Army vehicles, was an expert and could fix anything. After leaving the Army he owned the Horseshoe Bar on 30th Street in Florence for a few years. Ray then started his long career in Real Estate and was quickly recognized as the top salesperson for the Region in 1979 for Century 21 Real Estate. After those beginning years as a residential broker, he moved to sell businesses as a business broker for NP Dodge for many years. He took time at home in the early 1980s as well, to enjoy his children and to write a book. He wrote, “Buying, Selling and Starting a Business” in 1982 while his kids made paper airplanes with all the retyped pages.

One of Ray’s favorite hobbies was working, driving, and tinkering on old hot rod cars. He built a 1923 Ford T from the ground up and the only person he let drive it was Jane. Ray and Jane got married on August 12, 1974. Grandma’s fried chicken was still in the oven when they hit the road for their honeymoon to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and California in their 1934 Ford Victoria. Thirty-four years later they celebrated their wedding anniversary by driving their 1940 Ford Coupe to Montana.

Ray was always there for his family anytime they needed anything. He taught his kids the importance of being honest, hard work, and the value of a dollar. He made sure they kept their grades up and spent so much time helping them with applications to the best universities he could find. He worked his whole life to provide for his family and give them a better life. Ray was always there when someone needed him.

Ray had wonderful times with his five children. He built a replica of the playhouse Jane had on the farm for his kids and then rebuilt it for his grandkids. Ray built a Tin Lizzie (old model car) for the kids to drive around in the yard. He played practical joke after practical joke, and for a long time, most of the kids in the family actually thought there was a monkey or maybe even an elephant in the yard. There were countless Connect Four tournaments and four-hour Canasta games (Dad and Annie always won) with chocolate malts and ice cream. Ray and John built a wooden model house that won John the Architect Award at Ponca. He then built the kitchen in Kay and Brad’s new house and made sure that the construction of the house was done to perfection.

Ray’s friends and brother-in-law, Larry, were also a big part of his life. He enjoyed working on cars with them, attending car shows, stock car races, and most recently trying to make sure property values were, in fact, accurate for tax purposes for his fellow Nebraskans. They often went to lunch to discuss their hobbies. His buddies from kindergarten were his friends up until the last moments on this earth. They had good times together, all their lives.

The grandchildren have been the biggest joy in Ray’s life. Ray was the first one to the hospital when the long-awaited first grandchild finally was born. Josephine, Evan, Vivian, Anna, Braden, and Mason have brought so much happiness to the Gustafson family. Ray called the youngest, Anna, “Happy.” For the past two and a half years, “Happy” has been the one to make him smile the biggest. Oh, how we will all miss hearing the grandchildren say, “Hi Papa, I love you”.

Ray passed away at home surrounded by family on Sunday, April 5th. He is preceded in death by his son, John Paul Gustafson, his brother, Jim Gustafson, his mother and father, Vivian Josephine and Arthur Gustafson. He is survived by his wife, Jane Gustafson; Children: Catharine (Kay) and Brad Carne of Omaha, Joseph (Joe) and Jamie Gustafson of Fremont, Raymond Gustafson of California, Annie Gustafson of Kalispell, MT; Grandchildren: Josephine, Evan, Vivian, Arianna (Anna), Braden, Mason; Brother John Gustafson; Many other relatives and friends.

Private services will be held. Interment: Ft. Calhoun Cemetery, Ft. Calhoun, NE

~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~

Printed in the Omaha World Herald on 4/12/2020