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Memorial service for former borough worker on Saturday


Submitted photo

Ray Pederson poses with his daughters, Dawn, left, and Camie, right.

Former borough worker and Motor Pool Advisory Committee member Ray Pederson, age 71, has been described as a "great guy" who will be missed by many.

"He was just a one of a kind, larger than life type of person," his daughter, Camie Rae Pederson said.

A memorial service will be held for Ray on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the high school gym with a celebration of life following in the upstairs of the Elks Lodge.

Ray was found unresponsive in the sauna at the Community Center on March 11 shortly before 10 a.m.

Captain John Hamilton with the Petersburg Police Department said EMS tried to resuscitate him, but that Ray was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

The medical examiner hasn't turned in a report to police yet, but Hamilton said there were "no obvious signs of foul play." Camie Pederson said the medical examiner told the family it was natural causes.

She teased that he had nine lives because he'd survived a plane crash in the '80s, a dump truck accident at Tonka, battled leukemia and had made it through multiple cardiovascular surgeries over the last decade.

Ray worked for the city from 1985 to 2006 retiring as a Public Works Foreman. He also served in the Navy.

Family friend Bradee Luhr, who's been friends with Camie "since birth pretty much," she said, set up a Give Forward account to assist the family with funeral expenses.

She said the whole community, including those in Wrangell where Ray often golfed, have been really supportive, and that people are so "willing to do anything for Ray's family because he was such an important part of this community."

The goal to raise $5,000 was reached Wednesday evening.

Many have expressed their condolences and shared stories about Ray on Facebook and Give Forward.

He was a huge supporter of Viking sports and the community's youth, and was known as a kind man who liked to tell jokes and pull pranks.

"A great guy who always took the time to visit and have a kind word for everyone, particularly the youth. Even though he was a huge Viking supporter and they were his passion, I felt he truly enjoyed and supported the kids of Wrangell, as well. Our entire family will truly miss him," Keith Appleman wrote on Facebook.

In addition to his two daughters, three stepdaughters and many grandchildren, "friends were his family," too, Camie said.

"He was truly a good man," she added. "It's hard to sum him up."


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