Raymond J. Rauenhorst, age 82, of Easton passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side, Friday, April 19, 2024. Visitation will take place on Tuesday, April 23rd from 4:00-7:00PM at Nasinec Funeral Home in Wells (789 Business Park Drive) and will continue one hour prior to the service from 10:00-11:00 AM at church. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Easton at 11:00 am on Wednesday, April 24th with Father Pratap Reddy Salibindla officiating. Burial and Military Honors will be  held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery.

Ray was born January, 6, 1942, on the family farm south of Easton. He was the youngest child of Joseph and Magdalen (Dulas) Rauenhorst. He was Baptized and Confirmed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Easton, graduated from Delavan High School in 1960, and attended the University of St. Thomas, graduating in 1964. He first met Sharon K. Waechter, of Blue Earth, while hauling sweet corn at the Green Giant canning factory. She was hired as the factory registered nurse for the summer. They were married in Blue Earth on August 15th, 1964.

Ray entered the Marine Corps in August of 1964 and received his Wings of Gold and was commissioned a 2nd LT at NAS Chase Field, Beeville, TX in June of 1966. Ray flew 317 combat missions in Vietnam in 1968, where he earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Single Mission Air Medals, and was awarded the Purple Heart.

In 1970, the couple returned to Easton, settled onto the family farm, and began farming.

Ray joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in February of 1973 and served with them for 22 years, retiring in October of 1994 at the rank of Colonel. He was the fighter squadron Commander for over four years and led many squadron deployments to CONUS and overseas locations.

While farming, he flew as an ag pilot for Blue Earth Flying Service for 17 years. He was also a member and a chairman of the Delavan School Board for over 12 years. He was the only Minnesota representative of the 22-member Jim Kinsella Ag Innovator Program at Lexington, IL. It was here that he learned of the benefits of conservation tilling and started no-tilling and strip tilling his farm in 1992. He was very conscious of the environment and loved his trees – especially conifers – he planted thousands of them!

Throughout his life and in retirement, Ray took active church and community leadership rolls. Whether it was coaching his kids in sports, or, serving as a 3rd Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus, or holding a position in the Easton American Legion Post #569, Ray found service to be a joy and an honor.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sharon (Waechter), their seven children; Col Michael (Heather) of Harbor Springs, MI, Col Robert (Annette) of Meridian, MS, Maj Joel (Tara) of Easton, MN, Dr Mary (SgtMaj Scott) Bakken, of Sioux Falls, SD, Sgt USMCR/Lt MSP Douglas (Dr Tina) of Northfield, MN, LCDR David (Amanda) of Nerstrand, MN, and LtCol Paul (Tracy) of Eagle River, AK, sisters; Lorraine Hassing of Blue Earth, MN, Millie Miller of Austin, MN, Evie Thielen of Ames, IA, 29 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his brother, LTJG Leo Rauenhorst, parents, Joseph and Magdalen Rauenhorst, three brothers-in-law; Dick Miller, Tom Thielen, and Harold Hassing.