Ray Leon Shultz
Feb. 25, 1948 ~ May 23, 2020
Ray Leon Shultz, 72, sadly passed away at home on May 23, 2020. He was a 19-year resident of Las Cruces, NM. Ray was born to Edith Mae and Paul Shultz in Portland, IN on February 25, 1948.
Raised on a farm, he learned valuable life lessons that he willingly shared a bit later with his son. After graduating high school in Bryant, Ray went on to complete his college years at Taylor University. There he received his Bachelor’s degree in education. While at Taylor he enjoyed his time on the cross country/track teams. A bicycle trip coast to coast with the school’s Wandering Wheels had always been a special memory.
Ray joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1970 and really treasured his time as a helicopter pilot and instructor. While in flight school, he met his future wife Wanda Gaines and married four months later in 1972. In 1977 they were blessed with their only child Jason.
In 1979 he transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard and continued flying, living on the edge with the mission of search and rescue. His duty stations while in the service included Okinawa, Japan, Pensacola, FL, Astoria, OR, Kodiak, AK, with retirement out of Savannah, GA, as a Lieutenant Commander in 1991. Ray received the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with Operational Distinguishing Service and two Gold Stars, the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with Operational Distinguishing Device, and the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, among others.
Retirement took Ray to Washougal, WA for the next 10 years. During this time, he returned to flying, joining Life Flight in Portland, OR. He later moved to Bastrop, TX, for a short period, then onto their present home in Las Cruces where he spent seven years flying for Southwest Medivac.
Ray’s true passion in life was traveling, and he visited over 30 countries. Many knew him to hop a plane and travel halfway across the world just for a good cup of coffee and a beautiful view. His adventures always had him returning home with many tales to share in his letters to his family and friends.
Ray was preceded in death by his mother, Edith Mae; his father, Paul Shultz; and stepmother, Barbara Shultz.
Ray is survived by his wife of 48 years, Wanda; his son, Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Shultz (Dallas); sisters, Darlene McKinney (John), Phyllis Bickel (Wayne), and Trudy Baidinger (Bill); brother, JD Shultz; grandchildren, Aspen and Cody; and several nieces and nephews.
To sign Ray’s online guest book,