Oakley R. (Ray) Woody 78 of Lewistown passed away Sunday afternoon, September 12th, 2021 in Billings Clinic Hospital of COVID -19 Pneumonia. He was born in December of 1942 in Lewistown, Montana the first child of Oakley A. and Anna Fern (Cripps) Woody. He attended school in Lewistown graduating from Fergus High School in 1961. He spent most of his summers working on his Uncle Edgar’s ranch near Ft. Maginnis, alongside his cousins Bill and Kenny Cripps. After High School, Ray worked for Boeing before attending college at Montana State University in Bozeman graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He married his first wife and the mother of his children Amy Allen in February of 1970 in West Yellowstone, MT. They lived and worked in Bozeman, Condon and Brady, MT while he worked on the Hungry Horse Dam. In 1972, they settled in Great Falls where they would remain and raise their 3 children until the marriage was dissolved in 1984. While in Great Falls, Ray worked as a salesman for Caterpillar, Bison Ford, Kenworth, and Cummins, finally returning to Caterpillar where he would finish his career in 2004. After his retirement, Ray remarried Ms. Barbara Holm and moved to New Prague Minnesota. After Ms. Holm passed away, Ray returned to Lewistown and built his dream house in honor of his late wife.
Ray’s constant companion was a German Shepherd, he owned several over the years: T-Bone, Max, Kane, Max the 2nd, and Duke. He loved them very much and they all loved him.
Ray was an avid sports fan following the Great Falls High School BISON, Fergus Golden Eagles, Lewistown Redbirds and the Montana State Bobcats. He especially enjoyed watching the sports his grandchildren were involved in: Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Wrestling, Baseball, Softball, Football, Basketball, Track, and Cross Country.
But Ray’s passion was finding and restoring classic cars. First a 1931 Ford Model A, then a 1953 Buick that had belonged to his grandfather. He and his son then restored a ’57 Chevy taking it from frame to finish. He searched for and found a 1962 Pontiac Catalina which was not the exact car that he had in high school but was very close to it, the VIN’s almost matched. His last car project was a second ’57 Chevy, this one he painted an iridescent purple, “it’s a Harley color,” he would say.
His legacy will be the work he was doing, along with Dennis Cripps, at Fort Maginnis. It was important to him that this piece of history was not forgotten. Ray’s son Matt and Mr. Cripps have committed to completing this project in his memory.
Ray is survived by his faithful companion “Duke”, who will be moving to North Carolina to become a true-Blue Devil; his three children: Matt of Bozeman, MT, Patty Phillips of Moravian Falls, NC and Kate Elam of Lewistown, MT; one brother Alvin of Medford, OR; six grandchildren and 3 nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara and his parents.
The family would like memorials in memory of Ray to go to the Fort Maginnis project, the Fergus Sports Boosters or the Lewistown Redbirds.
An informal Celebration of Life, with respect to COVID precautions, will be held on Saturday, September 18th, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. until the last story is told at Ray’s home in Lewistown. For the address or directions, please contact the Cloyd Funeral Home at 538-8711. At his request cremation has taken place with the Cloyd Funeral Home assisting the family.
Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com.