Raymond Harringa, 1929-2017

Published 1:00 am Friday, June 9, 2017

Memorial services for Raymond Allen Harringa, 87, of Albert Lea will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home in Albert Lea. Friends may greet the family one hour before the service. Online condolences are welcome at www.bayviewfuneral.com.

Ray passed away Sunday, June 4, 2017, at Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 87.

Ray was honest, principled and loyal; usually reserved, but not on the dance floor. He was stern, yet caring. He was disciplined in his work, and passionate about family, friends and hobbies. Those who knew him best experienced his dry humor, his independence and his love.

Raymond Harringa

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Raymond Allen Harringa was born Aug. 31, 1929, on the family farm northeast of Buffalo Center, Iowa, the third child of eight to Reiner and Edna (Ricks) Harringa.

As a child he helped with chores, feeding hogs and chickens. He started grade school in 1935 in Lakota, Iowa. He attended school until the eighth grade in 1943, but roughly a decade later went back and earned his high school general education development degree.

Ray enlisted in the Air Force on Dec. 12, 1950, and was stationed in Hawaii as part of the Military Air Transport Service. He was honorably discharged on Dec. 11, 1954, as an Airman First Class. While in the service he met Susan Ella Donze. They married on April 4, 1955, in Angola, Indiana, and moved to Lansing, Michigan. At the time Ray worked at Lansing Car Assembly — a General Motors factory — assembling Oldsmobiles.

Ray and Sue lived in Lansing for two years, where they had their first child, Robert, in 1956. They bought a farm near Thompson, Iowa, in 1957, where Ray launched his long career in the fields. That year, Ray and Sue had a daughter, Kathy, and a son, Joel, in 1961.

Raymond Harringa

The family moved to a farm north of Hanlontown, Iowa, in 1967. Ray’s main focus was farming and he devoted most of his time to his work. Recreation usually revolved around get-togethers with neighboring farmers. He enjoyed the classic TV comedy of Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Dick Van Dyke and Fawlty Towers. His hidden talents included playing the harmonica and singing when he thought no one was listening.

Ray and Sue enjoyed spending time with family, visiting friends, playing cards and especially dancing. The two loved to square dance and ballroom dance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Sue passed away on Aug. 8, 1986.

After more than four decades, Ray retired from farming in the late 1990s, and soon moved to Albert Lea. There he became an avid golfer, teaching himself the game and enjoyed playing regularly with family and friends.

While dancing about 20 years ago, Ray met Marlys Steele, who was his special companion ever since. Besides dancing, the two enjoyed golfing, playing cards at the Albert Lea Senior Center and spending winters in Mission, Texas.

Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Sue, in 1986; siblings Adeline Harringa in 1937, Darlene Beresford in 1985, Marilyn Harringa in 2016 and Harriet Harms in 2016; brother-in-law, Ubbie Harms, in 2003; and parents Reiner in 1961 and Edna in 1989.

Ray is survived by his special companion, Marlys Steele, of Albert Lea; sons Robert (Vicki) Harringa of Hanlontown and Joel Harringa of Ames, Iowa; daughter, Kathy Harringa, of Prairie Village, Kansas; and grandchildren Adam (Nicole) Harringa of Rochester, Laura Harringa of Minneapolis, Benjamin Harringa of Minneapolis and John Harringa of Madison, Wisconsin. He is also survived by sisters Virginia Harringa of Buffalo Center and Judy Harringa of Buffalo Center; brother, Melvin (Ruth) Harringa, of Buffalo Center; and many nieces and nephews.

He attended the Methodist churches in Buffalo Center and Lakota, Grace Lutheran Church in Hanlontown and Concordia Lutheran Church of Pickerel Lake near Albert Lea.

Not normally competitive, his golf game set him apart. He taught the game to his children and grandchildren and though he sometimes lamented he couldn’t hit the ball quite as far as he once had, his accuracy was remarkably consistent. Though never boastful, his satisfaction was evident when he sunk a long putt.

He enjoyed watching golf on television, as well as poker, and he had a flair for ping pong, billiards and Sudoku. He provided constant mechanical advice to his daughter, even when it wasn’t solicited. But nothing piqued his interest more than catching up with his adult grandchildren when they visited — especially during holidays and often during his last few months.