Raymond J. “Ray” Maher, 70, of Sumpter died Oct. 11, 2001, at his home.
His graveside funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Roger Scovil of the Baker City Christian Church will officiate. A celebration of his life is scheduled at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Baker High School gymnasium, 2500 E St.
Mr. Maher was born Jan. 8, 1931, at Astoria to John C. “Jack” and Hanna Johansen Maher. He was raised and educated at Knappa. As a young boy, he worked as a veterinary apprentice and also worked a team of horses on the Columbia River, near Astoria, pulling in salmon fishnets.
He spent most of his life working in the timber industry. He also worked on the Astoria Bridge and dock area. And he worked as a vet assistant at the Cow Palace in Yakima, Wash.
Mr. Maher’s special love of life was his involvement with sports as both a participant, coach and as a “Number 1 fan” for the young people in his life. As a young man, he owned and played for a semi-pro baseball team at Astoria.
He has promoted sports of all kinds all of his life. He played against the Harlem Globetrotters, was involved in fund-raising with donkey basketball, concession stands with the Booster Club in John Day and, to the day of his death, was there to support the kids in the community.
He has worked with young students of all ages throughout his life in coaching, umpiring, keeping statistics, working the pits and timekeeping for baseball, softball, basketball, football, wrestling and some aspects of track and field.
While in the Baker community, Mr. Maher could be seen at practice and games offering that little bit of extra support, encouragement and advice. He traveled to the all-star softball games, continuing that support both here and away.
Mr. Maher always said, “The kids are everything.” He told the kids “win or lose, you learn by your mistakes, pick yourselves up and look to the future, not to the past.” Education was number one with him, the books came first, and the knowledge learned in sports activities would apply to life’s challenges. “An athlete needs to be a good business person and leader,” he said.
Wherever life’s activities took him he became involved with the kids and sports. He always remarked that when he was in heaven, he would have the best seat in the house. As stated by one of the students, he was and still is, their guardian angel.
Mr. Maher married Darlene V. McCulley Huckleberry on Nov. 14, 1992, at Knappa-Svensen. They came to this area in 1993, owning a ranch for two years in Richland and then owning and operating the former Geiser Grand Gift & Gallery in Baker City and the Current Gold Dredge Gift Gallery at Sumpter.
He was a member of the Astoria Eagles and Moose lodges and was a member of the Baker Elks Lodge, No. 338.
Survivors include his wife, Darlene Maher of Sumpter; children, Gina and Robert Conn of Knappa-Svensen, Raymond “Butch” and Michelle Maher of Kelso, Wash., Devora and Brian Traylor of Albany, Marisa and Jeffrey Recklet of Baker City, Gloria and Rock Davis of Elma, Wash., and Jon and Jill Maher of Baker City; grandchildren, Derek and Beth Conn, Leah and Chris Campbell, Shane and Ty Maher, Jarrod Traylor, Jessica, Ford and Jake Davis; great-grandchildren, Katya and Caitlin Conn and Rylyn and Jenna Campbell; stepchildren, Roy and Mary Huckleberry of Castle Rock, Wash., and Gale and Ray Hull of Olympia, Wash.; two stepgrandsons and one stepgreat-granddaughter; a sister, Maria McKenna of Pittsfield, Ill.; and one niece.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Baker High School Athletic Fund through the Coles-Strommer Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: The Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, October 19, 2001
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor