Ray I. BlueJanuary 6, 1936 ~ January 30, 2018 (age 82)
Ray Irwin Blue was born January 6, 1936 in Tekamah, Nebraska to Archie and Gladys Blue. Ray was the middle of 3 boys, Wayne being the elder and Donald being the younger brother. The Blues brothers grew up on a farm outside of Tekamah, near Lincoln Nebraska and spent their early years in the country learning to farm. As a result, Archie taught his boys the importance of working hard and as a result all of his boys developed into men with a tremendous work ethic and a zest to succeed.
After grade school, Ray attended Platte Valley Academy and it was evident that he had a brilliant mind, and excelled in math and the physical sciences. Understanding early on that farming was not his forte, Ray graduated early from high school and understood that to excel in what he wanted to do with his life he would need an education.
That led him to attend Union College in Lincoln to study engineering. Ray soon realized he would need to attend another University to finish an engineering degree which prompted him to change direction and finish his degree in Education at Union. In true Ray Blue fashion, he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Education and accomplished that in just 3 years. Unlike most students today, he was debt free when he graduated. He worked as a mason throughout his tenure at Union and finished college with cash in his pocket, a wife, and a car.
Ray met Shirley Landers while attending Union and, prior to graduation, the two were married. After college in 1955, Ray accepted a position as a math teacher at Plainview Academy in South Dakota and the couple settled in and started a family. Ray said that teaching was a challenging experience due to the fact that many of the students he taught were close to the same age as he was. The couple decided that to increase the chances of career success, Ray would need to continue his education attending The University of South Dakota and graduating with a Master’s of Science in Physics.
While at Plainview Academy, the couple had their first child, Kris and three years later their second daughter, Kelly was born. After Ray finished his Master’s degree, the offers began coming in. Preferring to remain within the Seventh-Day Adventist system, Ray accepted a position to oversee the math and physics departments at Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota. They were there 4 years and then accepted a similar position in the warmer and milder climes of Lodi, California where they stayed for the next 5 years. Ray continued his education completing classes at the University of California at Berkley to satisfy continuing education credits.
In 1970 the couple accepted a position at Gem State Academy and shortly after moving, the couple divorced. Ray and his girls did their best to adjust to their new life in Idaho and quickly became involved in building new relationships and getting established. With a heavy heart and a determination for what God asked of him, Ray made a life for his girls and became involved in their extracurricular activities.
One of these activities was Pathfinders, an organized youth group similar to Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. It was his involvement with this group that introduced him to the eventual love of his life, Betty Spainhower, who was recently single and had two boys of her own. A relationship was kindled between the two and in 1972 they joined their 2 families.
Every summer when not teaching school, Ray would work to build relationships with local builders who sub-contracted with him to do masonry work. In an effort to build work ethic within his children, Ray would have them work with him to complete the jobs. Much of the time on these jobs the kids would express their dissatisfaction at the unfairness of having to work at such hard labor. Ray, in his patience would let them know that one day they would thank him for this opportunity. He was correct, all of his children are much appreciative of his effort and his patience.
Somehow within the family’s busy schedules, they found time to re-build wrecked cars and enjoy family vacations in the surrounding mountains and deserts. Ray made sure, when each child was of age, they had a wrecked car to make functional so they would know how to work on vehicles and have transportation. The Idaho Salvage Pool became a popular hangout among Ray and his kids. Ray rebuilt or assisted his kids in rebuilding at least 20 of these vehicles.
In 1992, after nearly 35 years of teaching in the Seventh-Day Adventist system, Ray retired from teaching to begin the second phase of his career as a builder and land developer. During this time, Ray continued to hone his building and land developing skills. This afforded him the opportunity, in his spare time, to travel the world with Betty at his side, sometimes to vacation and sometimes to build orphanages, churches and schools. The couple traveled and experienced over 20 countries around the world together.
Ray loved to build. Whether it was houses, cars, airplanes, boats, motorcycles or subdivisions, Ray attacked each project with passion and enthusiasm. He had a fascination with many motorized vehicles, but at the top of this list was his 1957 Thunderbird and his 1931 Model A coupe. Ray sold his 1957 T-bird after owning it for several years, but continued to work on the Model A until he was recently unable to do so. This reflected his love of everything motorized.
Ray had many passions throughout his life, but his chief passion was his love for his savior Jesus Christ, His wife of 46 years, Betty, his 4 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Each one added to the richness that was his life. His has been a life well lived, his bucket list did not include many items that were not checked off. As his wife and children and those in his vast circle of influence mourn his loss, there is celebration and comfort in the realization that we will once again embrace this wonderful man in the earth made new.
Ray is survived by his wife Betty of Nampa, Idaho, daughters Kris Fosness of Kuna, Idaho, Kelly Northouse (Ray) of Eagle, Idaho, two sons, Kevin Spainhower (Dee) of Caldwell, Idaho and Tod Spainhower (Tracy) of Boise, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Special Thanks to: Family Life Memory Care for providing exceptional care during his illness; First Choice Hospice and caregivers Ann and Dove; Oasis SDA Church for their loving support; Cloverdale SDA Church for accommodating this special day; Many thanks to family and friends for loving prayers and comfort; also thanks to Alsip and Persons Funeral Chapel for their help during this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Gem State Academy Worthy Student Fund.