Ray B Stiltner
November 8, 1925 – January 30, 2019
Ray Stiltner was born in Leslie, West Virginia, on November 8, 1925, and passed away with family by his side in Vancouver, Washington, on January 30, 2019. His parents were James Miles and Caledonia Clementine Stiltner. Ray grew up with four brothers and five sisters in a coal mining town in West Virginia. His father was a coal miner for 50 years. As job opportunities were few and times were hard in the hills and hollers of West Virginia in the 1940’s, Ray’s father didn’t want his boys to work in the mines. As soon as Ray was old enough he joined the military, as did his older brother. Ray served in the United States Navy Air Corps during World War II. A top turret gunner, radio and radar operator, he flew in 52 missions in the South Pacific. In his later years he told stories and recalled many events of his years in the Navy flying in B24 Liberator, Privateer, and PBY-5 airplanes. He especially enjoyed attending Navy reunions, reuniting with his squadron buddies. He met the love of his life, Mary Hilton, in Chehalis, Washington after his discharge from the military. He was a Greyhound Bus driver and she worked as a waitress at the Greyhound Bus Depot during her senior year of high school. They were married for 65 years when Mary passed away in 2013. Ray had a variety of jobs throughout his life including: Greyhound Bus driver, owner of Twin City Bus line, Centralia Police Officer and Centralia School District Transportation Supervisor. He later earned his Electrician Certification from the University of Washington and retired from Weyerhaeuser. He loved country and southern gospel music and was a talented musician. Ray enjoyed playing his guitar and singing country songs. John Denver’s, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was his favorite. He also played the banjo, mouth harp, harmonica and had a beautiful singing voice. Ray had a favorite poem by Don Williams and would recite it often, “I’m just a country boy, money have I none, but I’ve got silver in the stars and gold in the morning sun.” Ham radio operating was one of Ray’s favorite hobbies. A talented Morse Code operator in the military, he taught Morse Code classes at Centralia College. Ray loved animals and birds of all kinds. He especially loved his poodles Pierre and Barbie Doll. Bird watching was a favorite pastime and he loved feeding the hummingbirds. He would stand still so they would fly into his hands. In their retirement years Ray and Mary loved traveling the U.S. and Canada, and especially loved spending time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at their favorite vacation spot, Seaside, Oregon. Ray is survived by his children, Patti (Carl) Green of Spokane; Pam Winter of Wichita, Kansas; John (Gail) Stiltner of Centralia and Peggy Allen of Vancouver. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren; sisters Artia Clevenger of Baltimore, Maryland; June Wray of Centralia; and brother James (Nonie) Stiltner of Rochester; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceeded in death by his parents; wife Mary; brothers Orville, Clarence and Arnel Stiltner; sisters Nora Johnson and Merline Canfield; baby great- grandson Braden; and beloved sons-in-law Ken Allen and Jay Winter. A celebration of Ray’s life will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at the Centralia Nazarene Church, 1119 West First Street, Centralia, Washington 98531. Visitation will be held on Friday, February 8, 2019, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Sticklin Funeral Chapel, 1437 South Gold Street, Centralia, Washington 98531. A private graveside service will precede the memorial service. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV).
- Visitation Friday, February 8, 2019
- Celebration of Life Saturday, February 9, 2019