Ray Harold Bothel
1 September, 1932 – 8 May, 2020
Ray Harold Bothel was born on September 1, 1932, in Tacoma, Washington, to Harold and Nina Bothel. He was the youngest of three, with brothers James and Dudley. Ray went to Stadium High School in Tacoma, graduating in 1950. He began studies at Washington State College, now University, and joined ROTC. He transferred to the University of Washington, continued in ROTC, and after graduation with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1955, he was commissioned into the United States Air Force. Although he was preparing for service in the Korean War, the war ended before he was deployed. Shortly after becoming an officer in the Air Force, he transferred to the United States Coast Guard, where he served out his military career, retiring with the rank of Commander. He then served in the Coast Guard Reserves for several years following.
While at the UW, he met and married his first wife, Jean, who also graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He enjoyed telling the story of the wedding nearly canceled due to an early November snowstorm. They bought a house in West Seattle where they began to raise their growing family. First, Mike, then Douglas (referred to as Scottie, who died in infancy and is buried in West Seattle) and then Karen came along. It wasn’t until the family moved to Redmond that Jeanette was born. After he retired from the Coast Guard, he worked for Boeing Computer Services, where he traveled throughout the country as an educator and trainer for their computer systems.
Ray was very active in the life of the Church. He was ordained as a Ruling Elder in 1974 in what is now the Presbyterian Church of America. His home church was Covenant Presbyterian Church from about 1969. There, he and Jean met and became good friends with Ray and Patricia Addington. He served as an Elder for 18 years before stepping aside to enable the younger men to develop. His final church home was at Hope Presbyterian. Ray will be remembered as a man who really had a strong faith and who loved the Lord. His service to the Lord through the Church was tireless.
In the early years of the family, his children recount their Chrysler station wagon trips to Quincy, outside of Wenatchee, where they would visit Jean’s parents and pick fruit. If the children and dog, relegated to the back seat, caused trouble, Ray’s arm would go flying back to discipline them. The family also drove to Disneyland once in that car, which broke down along the way, leaving Ray none too pleased, but the memory still stands out to the kids.
Ray, in a self-given description, was a “curmudgeon”, especially in his younger married life. He would sit in his chair and smoke a pipe, greatly resembling “Archie Bunker”.
What came out of his mouth was often so incredibly witty. He was spontaneous in his witticisms, never repeating the same thing twice; evidence that his sharp mind was always working. When he was in the hospital, his doctor asked him what year it was, and Ray replied with sass, “Well, I know what it is. Do you know what it is?!”
Karen’s friend one time introduced her new husband to Ray, to which Ray said, “That’s a likely alias.” That was from over thirty years ago. His deadpan delivery was always the same whether he was saying something serious or funny.
Sometimes his witticisms just stuck. Like the time, after the family watched the movie “Napoleon Dynamite”, he declared, “I want those 2 hours back!” That statement was to resurface many times in the family.
Sometimes he didn’t need to convey with words his feelings to his children. The huge sigh was Ray’s signature way of communicating how he felt. He wasn’t always a man who conveyed his love through words. But you always knew he cared. The supreme way he showed his care was to provide rich experiences for his family. There were so many vacations: car trips and camping trips in the station wagon, or towing the Fireball camp trailer, ski trips and longer trips to Hawaii or California. Ray gave the gift of making memories.
Ray also made a really good father-in-law. He was welcoming and inclusive. His daughters joked that their father liked son-in-law Pat and daughter-in-law Julie, better than he liked them. “But’, they declared, “we are fine with that.”
Ray was a man who knew a lot about a lot of things. His breadth of knowledge was impressive. He just had a drive for lifelong learning. He read a lot. He liked a good mystery novel. But he also read extensively in Church History, Theology, and Engineering. He was a guy who read user manuals for fun. He was into personal computers as a computer nerd well before that was even a category. The Kaypro personal computer back in the 1980s brought him endless fascination.
Like the diversity of his learning and reading, Ray had many interests. and appreciated the beauty and intricacies of wooden boats. He liked discussing broad topics such as “seaworthiness”. But he loved sailing. He was an avid sailor, once on a crew that sailed from Hawaii to the mainland. Sailing was a big part of his life.
Ray taught his children an incredible work ethic and gave them solid life skills. He taught them the practical side of things, like saving money and taxes. His approach was a matter of fact and authentically honest. He just had a logical approach to life. Ray softened over the years and adored his grandchildren. He always expressed interest in their lives and development. The first thing he inquired about when his children called, was how everyone was, making sure that everyone had what they needed. He was so proud of everything that that his family accomplished. He thoroughly enjoyed family and friend gatherings and just visiting for hours. And he was so knowledgeable; if there was a school project to be done, the grandkids went to Grandpa.
Ray always expressed how lucky he felt to have been married to Patricia. both were singled due to their spouse’s untimely deaths, he felt he must move quickly to claim Patricia, as he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to marry a woman with such fine qualities. Their years together took them on trips, filled each other with companionship, and made the best of part two of their lives. In his last days, Ray’s main focus was on Patricia. He wanted to make sure that she was taken care of. They had been two peas in a pod and he wanted to know that she would continue to be supported. He said that he always felt lucky to have her. He held her in such high regard.
Ray will be remembered as an incredibly intelligent man with humor and a quick wit. His dedication to learning was inspiring. He will also be remembered as a faithful Christian, who gave of himself to the life of the church he loved. Finally, he was a man all about family, full of love and pride for the people in his life.
Ray Bothel passed away on May 8, 2020. He was 87 years old. He is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Nina Bothel, his older brothers James and Dudley, his first wife Jean, and infant son Douglas.
He leaves behind his adored wife, of 23 years, Patricia.
He is survived by his three children: Mike (with Julie), Karen (with Patrick) and Jeanette. Ray’s humor and love will live on in his grandchildren: Zak Bothel (who shared his Gramps’s birthday), Cody (with Katie) Wuestney, Tyler (with Anna) Wuestney, Brady Wuestney, and Riley (with Riley) Wuestney; and in the 3 children Fuzzy (with Rebecca), Cathy (with Corey), John, and 4 bonus grandchildren from Patricia’s family, Steven, Christopher, Kayleigh, and Rene.
We will miss this man, Ray. But we will treasure his memory deeply in our hearts. Forever.
Friday, 15 May , 2020
Friday, 15 May , 2020