RAYMOND EUGENE KOWALCHUK Raymond Eugene Kowalchuk was born on October 23, 1934 in Hamtramck, Michigan. He was the youngest son of Metro (Matt) and Eugenia (Jennie) Kowalchuk. Ray passed away on February 23, 2012 at Vista Grande Nursing home after a long fight with emphysema. He was 77 years old. Ray served his country as an airman in the US Air Force, stationed at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan. There, he met his true love, Marrian Rachael Beasley, in 1958. They were married in early 1959. Marrian passed away suddenly later that year, leaving Ray with a newborn daughter. In 1961 Ray moved with his parents and daughter to California to work as a firefighter for the Santa Ana Fire Department. Ray was a firefighter for 15 years, until a firefighting injury forced him into early retirement. He then became a fire science instructor, teaching the first female firefighter for the Santa Ana, CA fire department. He worked in real estate for several years after that. He married twice, with both marriages ending in divorce. In 1990, Ray moved to Durango, CO to be closer to his daughter. Ray loved to spend time outdoors, hunting, fishing and visiting National Parks. Above all, Ray loved to golf. He golfed with the likes of Jack Nicholas and former President Gerald Ford. Ray kept his friends, and anyone else who would listen, entertained with stories from his firefighting days and his golfing adventures. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marrian, and one brother. He is survived by his daughter, Karen Dickson and her husband Tom, of Egnar, CO, his grandson, Aaron O'Brien of Durango, former son-in-law Richard O'Brien of Durango, brother Orville of Hemet, CA, several nieces and nephews, and a multitude of friends. Cremation has occurred. The family will hold a private ceremony at Ray's favorite place, Yosemite National Park, at a later date.