Jack Raymond King, 75, passed away at the Hospice Care Center surrounded by loved-ones on Oct. 3, 2017, after a short battle with brain cancer.
Ray was born in Longview to Fern E. (McLaurin) and Jack Z. King on April 3, 1942. He was raised in Kelso, and graduated from Kelso High School in 1960 and from Lower Columbia College. He started his career as a cat operator in the early 1950s, logging with his father. His love for operating heavy equipment grew from there.
Ray and Linda Smith married March 13, 1965, and built their home in 1968. Being next door to Ray’s parents provided many fun-filled years, and there was always an unbelievable project going on.
After Ray spent several years operating cranes with his dad, Ray and Linda became second generation owner/operators of King’s Crane Service. Ray was well-known in the industrial community as a skilled crane operator and fair business man. No matter how impossible the project, Ray was always ready for the challenge. He formed many strong relationships along the way.
With the help of family and friends, the family built a cabin at Mount St. Helens and began snowmobiling during the winter, and boating on Spirit Lake in the summer until Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980.
Ray and Linda sold the business and retired in 2006. After retirement, Ray could be found at various car shows, truck swap meets, and spending time tinkering in his shop, where he rebuilt collector cars/trucks, the latest being a 1976 Kenworth. Ray and Linda loved to go on snowmobile trips with their dear friends Jim and Marty. They got a kick out of cruising and relished their family trips to Maui.
Ray met regularly with his Kelso Class of 1960 at their local hangout, Stuffy’s II, and he wouldn’t miss a Wednesday lunch in Castle Rock with his car buddies. Ray and Linda enjoyed dancing to the music of their cousins, Dick and Don, the “King Brothers.” They were long-time sponsors of Kelso High School Football and Ray annually attended the State High School Football Playoffs in Tacoma.
He is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter, Melissa King Hubert (Harold “Buzz”) of Wailuku, Hawaii; a son, John King (Michel) of Kelso; a brother, Dale King (Suzy) of Kelso; a granddaughter Samantha Jo King (Chase and his daughter Aliyah Marston) of Kelso; four grandsons, Chevy Robert and Tucker James McKune of Kelso, and Hunter Raymond and Jack Ryan Hubert, both of Wailuku; and a great-granddaughter, Macie Jo Marston “Grandpa’s Little Peanut” of Kelso.
A celebration of Ray’s life is planned for Sunday afternoon Feb. 18 at the Kelso-Longview Elks. Music will be provided by the “King Brothers.”
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Ray King may be made to the Community Home Health & Hospice, P.O. Box 2067, Longview, WA 98632 or the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, P.O. Box 172, Longview, WA 98632.