NEWBERRY - Longtime Newberry resident, Raymond A. Knauf, 90, died Friday morning, Sept. 27, 2013 at Helen Newberry Joy Hospital.
Born April 8, 1923 in Rudyard, son of the late Frederick and Pauline (Schlehuber) Knauf, Ray was raised in Rudyard until the age of eight when he moved to Bark River and was a 1941 graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Escanaba. Ray enlisted into Army Air Corp. during World War II reporting for duty in March of 1943. Stationed in Italy, he was a P-47 fighter pilot and flew 117 missions, getting shot down twice into the Mediterranean. Following his honorable discharge, he married the former Margaret Ellen Bink, his high school sweetheart, on April 4, 1945.
Ray worked with his brothers selling John Deere and Studebacker, first in Escanaba then in Manistique, before moving to Newberry in 1954, after buying M. Surrell & Son Chevrolet, which at the time included the Luce County Ambulance Service. He purchased the Oldsmobile dealership from Cliff Fossitt in the late 1970s and Teske Motors from Henry Teske in 1988. Ray also sold Polaris snowmobiles in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Raymond A. Knauf
An avid pilot, Ray also raced boats and snowmobiles. He still holds the fastest time on the Tahquamenon River and referred to as "The Granddaddy of racing" and is the oldest driver to ever qualify for the I-500 snowmobile race in the Soo, racing it a total of 17 times.
Golfing was another of Ray's passions. A lifetime member of The Newberry Country Club, he has a total of 11 holes-in-one, five of them in Newberry.
Ray was an active member of St. Gregory's Catholic Church serving as an usher and 4th degree of the Knights of Columbus Council #2929, member of the American Legion Post #74, V.F.W. Post #4418, the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot's Association and several professional associations through his dealership and snowmobile racing affiliations.
In addition to his parents, Ray is preceded in death by his beloved wife Margaret on April 3, 1996; son Michael on Dec. 26, 2011; and siblings John, Lawrence, Fred, Leo, Rose, Susan, Marguerite and Theresa.
Survivors include: children, Mary (Bill) Labadie of Newberry, Bill (Jean) Knauf of Newberry, Patricia (Paul) Johnson of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Jim (Drew Fitzmorris) Knauf of Ann Arbor; 12 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Friends may call at the Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 from 4 to 7 p.m. and also at St. Gregory's Catholic Church on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 from 10 to 11 a.m. A Memorial Mass celebrating the life of Raymond Knauf will follow at 11 a.m. at the church with Fr. Frank Ricca officiating. Rite of Committal with military rites will take place at Forest Home Cemetery in Newberry.
Memorial contributions may be directed to The Lieutenant Fred Knauf Memorial Scholarship in care of Community Foundation for Delta County, 2420 1st Avenue South, Suite 101, Escanaba, MI 49829, in his memory.
Condolences may be expressed at www.beaulieufuneralhome.com.
Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family.