Raymond M. Blanchard, 84, of Decorah, died Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse, Wis. Funeral services were at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, at Decorah Lutheran Church, with Rev. Bryan Robertson and Rev. David Sorensen officiating. Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in Oak Hill Cemetery in Nashua, with full military honors. Visitation began at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, one hour before the service, at Decorah Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home served the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com. Organist was Kathy Murray. Soloist was Karen Stock ("Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore"). Soloist also was Merlyn Finley ("The Lord's Prayer"). Congregational hymns were "Here I Am Lord," "Morning Has Broken" and "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory." Casket bearers were Andrew Bousky, Jason Bril, Jim Gilbert, Dennis Myhre, Brandon Ramsey, Steve Vangsness and Greg Vulk.
Raymond Millard Blanchard was born Aug. 28, 1929, to Ruth Hicock and Millard Blanchard in Nashua, where he grew up and resided for the first part of his life. Ray was baptized June 10, 1934, at the First United Methodist Church in Nashua. He was a 1948 graduate of Nashua High School. Ray attended Illinois Tool Company Gear School in Chicago, Ill., IBM School in San Jose, Calif., Time and Motion Study at Iowa State University, and Liebherr Gear School in Kempton, Germany. Ray started working at the age of 11 at the local ice house. Ray began his professional employment at White Farm Equipment (Oliver) in Charles City as a machinist in 1948. He advanced in his career there to the position of general manager and was employed for 41 years. During Ray's employment with White Farm Equipment, he took a leave during
1952-1955 to serve in the United States Marine Corps, where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. He was honored with Sharp Shooter and Expert Rifleman Medals. Ray was very proud to serve in the armed forces. After Ray's retirement from White Farm Equipment, he had his own consulting business. In the most recent years Ray has enjoyed his home at Whispering Springs (in rural Decorah) trout fishing, hunting, gathering morels, taming feral cats, walking in the woods, planting beautiful gardens, cutting wood and fishing on the Mississippi River. He was a member of the Decorah Lutheran Church and served as an usher. Ray was a conservationist and supported the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa. Ray was united in marriage to Janice Tyler July 6, 1991, in Des Moines.
Ray is survived by his wife, Jan Blanchard, of Decorah; daughter Raelynn (Chis) Bowcock of Palm City, Fla.; stepdaughters Angela Sadler of Mason City, Laura (Phil) Ramsey of Mooresville, N.C.; stepson David C. Sadler of New Haven, Conn.; sister Mildred Noling of Charles City; half brother Gerald (Kaye) Blanchard of Oskaloosa; five grandchildren: Brandon Ramsey of Mooresville, N.C., Andrew (Jessica) Bousky of Arlington, Va., Janna (David) Lay of Mooresville, N.C., Michael Bousky of North Glen, Colo. and Patrick Bousky of Austin, Texas. Raymond also is survived by Suzette Ballagh of Ames, his only niece.
Ray was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth, and father, Millard; his wife of 30 years, Donna Blanchard; his half brother, Weldon Blanchard; and his brother-in-law, Mervin Noling. The family asks for any memorials to be designated to: Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) Building Fund, P.O. Box 76, Decorah, IA 52101.