Raymond  Smewing


Raymond "Ray" Smewing, 92, of Traverse City, died on Feb. 24, 2019 at home with his loving family members. Ray and his father, Albert, built the home on 13th Street in 1940.
Raymond was born in Detroit on Nov. 16, 1926. The family moved to Leelanau County, where he attended the Solon School and finally settled in Traverse City, where the family has remained for five generations.
Ray was a graduate of Traverse City Senior High School, a proud Trojan and member of the football team.
Ray's mother, Katherine (Mikowski) Smewing, was a nurse and his father had one of the first large painting and wallpapering companies, "Smewing Contracting." Albert had the distinction to paint the Perry Hannah house in the 1940s and owned farm land at what is now the intersection of Division Street and South Airport Road.
Ray honorably served his country as a part of the U.S. Navy during World War II. He primarily served in the South Pacific as a Gunner's Mate 1st Class.
After his service, Ray worked at Parson's in Traverse City, where he supervised the construction of fuel tanks for the Saturn 5 space rocket and was heavily involved with the UAW. Further, Ray worked at the Traverse City Iron Works and Traverse City Gray Iron. Among other occupations, Ray enjoyed work as a painter and finisher, a trade that his father passed on to and shared with him. As a youth he worked at Coca-Cola, a pin setter at the bowling alley downtown and as a delivery man for grocery stores in Traverse City and Leelanau County.
Raymond was united to the love of his life, Barbara Jean Sladek on Sept. 23, 1950. The two celebrated over 62 years of marriage together before her passing in 2013.
He is survived by his children, David (Rose Ann) Smewing, Sue (Jaan) Tuulik and Stuart (Janet) Smewing; grandchildren, Melissa Smewing and Linsley Ransom; great-grandchild, Piper Korth; sister, Betty Fisher; and sister-in-law, Bobbie (Raymond) Sladek.
Raymond will be remembered as a hard-working man with a great sense of humor. Raymond and Barbara both had caring hearts, taking care of their aging parents and family members. He took pride in a job well done and was a stronghold for his family. He definitely had the moral and ethical convictions of an almost forgotten generation and will be deeply missed. Even though he was 92 at the time of his death, it didn't seem like enough time with him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior, on Friday, June 28, 2019 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. A luncheon will follow at the church. Afterwards, urn burial with military honors will take place at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
Ray and his family are being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home & Cremation Services.
Please visit Ray's tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
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Published on June 23, 2019
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