Ray Derringer
April 20, 1923 — July 5, 2016

Ray Derringer of Big Bend passed July 5, 2016, at the age of 93. Dad was born at home on April 20, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Elmer Dean Derringer and Lucille Mary (Klepl). He married Virginia Lee (Ruskaup) on Feb. 22, 1947. Through the course of their 57 years, they lived in St. Louis, Waycross, Ga., Port Edwards, and the last 36 years on their two ponds and ten acres in Big Bend.

Virginia, our gracious, caring and adored mother, preceded Ray in death in 2004.

Ray enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II at age 17. He became a squadron leader, flying Corsair fighters off the Vella Gulf aircraft carrier in the Pacific theater in preparation for the invasion of Japan. As a Marine captain during the Korean Conflict, he flew Corsairs off the deck of the Corral Sea in the Mediterranean.

After service, Ray became a mechanical design draftsman and then a self-educated engineer for International Oil Burner Co. in St. Louis. Ray moved his family to Waycross, Ga., for a year to run a business until being hired in 1959 as an engineer for the appliance and furnace manufacturer Preway, Inc. in Wisconsin Rapids. His successes, including numerous patents, lead him to become chief engineer and then vice president of both Engineering and Manufacturing. In 1979 he invested in a small precision tool manufacturing and grinding business in Muskego. He and Virginia moved to nearby Big Bend, named the company Americas Cutting Tools, and together with a team of loyal, highly skilled and talented employees, proceeded to build ACT into a very successful concern.

Ray enjoyed the challenges of golf into his late 80s, loved music, and had an eye for all forms of beauty. aThough, his longest and deepest love was of nature.

He taught his sons to hunt and fish with respect for each animal. During his years in Big Bend he gave refuge to many living things. He often reminded us that “Life is Life” whether human, furred, feathered, scaled, insect, or a plant and regarded these ponds and woods as a natural paradise.

He was always curious and never stopped reading and studying to improve his understanding of the universe, its wonders, and the meaning of life. His most dominant trait was a tremendous independence and fearlessness of thought and action. He often quoted “To Thine Own Self Be True”, and always strove to be fair to all. Semper Fi!

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Virginia Lee; and two sisters, Lucille and Virginia.

He is survived by his sons, Ronald and Roger Derringer (Kathy), and five grandchildren: Bren, Rebecca, Holly, Adam, Sarah, and ten great-grandchildren.

Ray and Virginia will be reunited in a graveside service at the Rural Home Cemetery in Big Bend at 2 p.m. Aug. 20.