Joseph William Ray, 35, of Eugene, died March 2, 2013 in Eugene.
Joseph was born on April 1, 1977 in Klamath Falls, Oregon and was the son of Joseph and Merry (Deasy) Ray. He moved with his family to Cottage Grove. He graduated from Creswell High School, where he played on the football team.
In December of 1999, he enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard. He served with the 1-186 Infantry in Klamath Falls. With this unit, on a one-year tour, he deployed to Egypt for Operation Southern Watch, ending in 2003. He then transferred to a State National Guard Forward support unit and served in Operation Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom for over a year.
Joe rejoined his infantry brothers and served on the Task Force Oregon in September 2005 to conduct security and relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He later transferred to A 1-162 Infantry in Eugene, Oregon. He deployed to Iraq in May 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received his honorable discharge in January 2013 at the rank of Specialist. He loved being a soldier and was proud to wear the uniform. He was a true patriot and protector of our great country.
Joe also worked for Union Pacific Railroad for five years as a System Ballast Regulator.
He was a qualified Scuba Rescue Diver and was a loving, playful daddy. He enjoyed photography and played the trumpet and harmonica.
Joe is survived by his mother, Merry Deasy of Malin Ore, his daughter, Angelina Ray of Junction City, Ore., fiancé Stephanie Rose and her son Gabriel of Eugene; sisters Kelly Eastman of Madras, Ore., Mindy Bench of Cottage Grove, Ramona Treat of Salem and uncles Mike Deasy of Port Arthur, Tex. and James Ray of Wenatchee, Wash., along with numerous nieces and nephews that were very special to him. He is also survived by his many friends who will miss him dearly.
A celebration of Joe’s life was held March 9 at Elks Lodge 1904. A graveside service with military honors was held March 12 at Willamette National Cemetery. Bateman Carroll Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.