Ray Wittman, age 82 of Stewart Valley and Swift Current went to be with the Lord on Friday, October 25, 2019 surrounded by his family at the Cypress House Care Center, Swift Current, where he spent his last weeks of life.
Raymond "Ray" Arthur Wittman was born at home on December 12, 1936 to Fred A. & Martha (Sauder) Wittman at Prairie View, SK. He grew up on the Wittman family homestead together with his older sister Joyce, and learned to love animals, music, and farm life. Ray attended Turnhill School. He always enjoyed sports and participated in softball, hockey and track and field events. After completing Grade 11 he began working on the family farm as well as the Hiebert Ranch.
In June of 1958, Ray married the love of his life, Julene Hiebert. In their early years of marriage, through the summer months, they lived and worked on the Wittman farm at Prairie View and would then move to the Hiebert Ranch House beside the river at Beaver Flat to feed and water the cattle through the winter months.
After a few years, they purchased some land of their own and began farming in the Beaver Flat community where they raised their three children — Shelley, Brent, and Dianne. In 1969, they purchased a package home, making a good portion of the payment in wheat. With the help of family and neighbours, Ray built the new house with his own hands and developed a yard site north of the road where there was better access to water for raising cattle.
With a genuine love for both farming and ranching, Ray continued to expand his operations through the years and also raised many horses. Ray especially loved horses and seemed to have a special gift for both training and handling them.
It brought great pleasure to Ray when his only son, Brent, chose to carry on the family farm and ranch, and the two of them worked side by side in partnership until 2002, when Brent and Rhonda took over the farming operation. Ray would often be found still helping out on the farm during the busy seasons, and he continued to run his own cattle operation until 2013, when his grandson, Jordan, purchased the herd. It was in 2013 that Ray suffered a severe brain injury resulting from a horse-riding accident. This injury would change his life forever, causing him many challenges, the most significant of which was extremely impaired balance.
Ray accepted Jesus as his personal savior when he was a young man, and his quiet, steadfast faith was evident in his everyday life.
Music was something that Ray truly loved — a gift that he not only shared with his father and sister, Joyce, but also a love and pastime that he and Julene shared and enjoyed together through the years. Ray was well known for singing and playing the mandolin and was often heard playing at the Church of the Open Bible where the family attended. In his more senior years, Ray began to make music with an ever-evolving group of men that became well known as Archie and the Boys. Together, these dear friends had a ministry in music and encouragement to residents at the various senior and nursing homes both in Swift Current and Herbert.
In the summer of 2019 Ray suffered a heart attack. Resulting issues with congestive heart failure and pneumonia eventually claimed his life.
Ray was predeceased by his father, Fred A. Wittman, in 1971; his mother, Martha (Sauder) Wittman, in 1992; his sister, Joyce Ruf, in 2018; his parents-in-law, Cornie & Lena Hiebert; his brother-in-law, Herb Ruf; and by his sister-in-law, Wilma Hiebert.
Ray is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Julene Wittman; his three children, Shelley (Stan) Unger, Brent (Rhonda) Wittman, and Dianne (Doug) Robertson; his eight grandchildren, Wade (Joaleen) Unger, Dustin (Kelsey) Unger, Karmyn (Nolan) Carlson, Kelsey (Brandon) Krahn, Jordan Wittman, Cody (Sharlyn) Robertson, Kent (Miranda) Robertson, and Kurt (Anna) Robertson; his seven great-grandchildren, Lena, Julia, and Aubree Unger, Brynn Carlson, Amarah and Spencer Robertson, and London Robertson; Joyce's children, Lorelei (Howard) Lawrence & family, and Jeff Ruf; and by Julene's brothers, Ron (Vera) Hiebert & family, and Marvin Hiebert & family.
The Funeral Service for Ray Wittman was held on Friday, November 1 at 2:00 p.m. from the Church of the Open Bible, Swift Current with Pastor Jay Hinds officiating. Tributes were shared by Brent and Dianne as well as some of Ray's grandchildren. A photo tribute was prepared by Rhonda Wittman. "Beyond the Sunset" and "Shall We Gather at the River" were sung by the congregation, led and accompanied by Brent & Rhonda Wittman. Special music was a recording of the song "Gone Home" by Archie & the Boys. The ushers were: Ken Doerksen, Harold Gerbrandt, Darcy Patzer and Terry Hiebert.
The Private Family Interment Service was held prior to the Funeral Service from the Nordland Church Cemetery, Beaver Flat. Ray's six grandsons, Wade Unger, Dustin Unger, Cody, Kent Robertson, Kurt Robertson, and Jordan Wittman served as pallbearers to lay their Grandpa to rest.
In memory of Ray, donations made to Gideons International would be appreciated by the family.
To send flowers to Ray's family, please visit our floral section.
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