MARQUETTE - Ray Sischo celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at the Terrace Bay Inn on May 5. His four children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and close friends helped him celebrate 100 years. Family came from Arizona, New Jersey, Wisconsin and lower Michigan to join in the celebration.
The D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, where Ray resides, also had birthday cake and coffee at a music event to help him celebrate with fellow veterans.
Raymond Leroy Sischo was born May 4, 1912, in a log house on the bank of a small creek East of Christie, Wis. He was the 10th child of a hardworking family that owned a 20-acre piece of land with a creek running lengthwise through it. His mother and the older siblings kept the home and did farm work while his father worked outside the home to keep a little cash flow coming in.
Ray Sischo, formerly of Trenary, celebrated his 100th birthday at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette where he has resided for the past two months.
Ray started school in 1919 in Withee, Wis. World War I was on and teachers and all other help was scarce. At that time children started school when they were past 7 years old. By March of 1920, Ray's family moved to the Ensign/Stonington area. The nearest school was over three miles away through wild woods with no roads - only trails.
The fathers of youngsters in the area finally started a new school in an old abandoned house. The school was three and a half miles away, but a man by the name of Andrew Johnson lived closer and agreed to board Raymond for $2 a week until Christmas. Due to bad weather, he missed January, February and most of March.
Then his mother took him with her back to Wisconsin to take care of her father and Ray went to school one and a half miles away. They returned to Michigan in late August, 1923, and Ray went back to school in Michigan. That year it was decided to close the area school and "bus" (by horse and wagon) students to the Alton School.
Ray remembers his father coming home from Rapid River and saying the stock market had crashed. In 1932, Ray worked for Scott and Alison, a bottled milk company, delivering milk. Retail was nine cents a quart. His pay was $15 a week for 70 hours. Ray worked and slept nights in the back room of the dairy plant. He had a two-burner oil stove for light cooking and coffee. Later he did carpenter work for $1 for 10 hours work until Sept. 25, 1935. That day he started working for the C.C.C.'s as a Local Expert Woodsman. He surveyed timber cruising property lines, etc. for selective logging for the next seven years.
At age 31, Ray was drafted into the Army Engineers from Delta County during World War II. He was in the Engineers, building bridges and eventually became a cook, an assignment he had for the next four years. Besides being in various camps in the United States, Ray was in New Guinea, Japan, and the Philippines. He served the military for a total of four years, eight months, and 28 days.
Ray married the former Luella Hoy from Trenary on July 6, 1943. While Ray was away in the war, Luella gave birth to their first child, a son, Raymond Jr. Ray met his son for the first time when Ray Jr. was 14 months old. Ray and Luella settled down in Rapid River. In May of 1949, they purchased a farm and moved their four children, three sons, and a daughter to Trenary.
Over the years, Ray has worked building boats in Rockford, Ill., and Marble Arms in Gladstone. At one time he worked for Bay Iron Foundry making manhole covers. While farming in Trenary he worked at Cliff Dow in Marquette but retired after receiving a hand injury.
With a thirst for knowledge, Ray has read several sets of encyclopedias, along with many other books. Because of eye failure, he can no longer read, but loves to tell about his years growing up.
Ray's wife of 54 years passed away Oct. 15, 1995. He remained in Trenary until April of 2012, when he moved to his new home in Marquette, D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. He still goes to Trenary once a month to sell tickets for the dance the senior citizens put on.
Whenever someone asks how Ray is doing, his favorite response is "Fine as frog's hair!"