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Raymond Murray Holtby, age 81 of Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, passed away November 15, 2023, at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
The memorial service was held on Friday, November 24, 2023, at the Knox United Church in Gull Lake, with the Rev. Ken Schrag officiating. Greg Holtby read a memorial tribute on behalf of the family. Millie Spagrud and the members of the United Church choir provided the music. The United Church Women’s group prepared and served the luncheon.
Ray is survived by his wife Faye; his children Murray Holtby (Kris), Deanna Hamilton (Ken), Tracey Sebok (Glen), and Greg Holtby (Toni); and his eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents,Don and Phyllis Holtby, and his brother, Dick Holtby.
Ray was born on November 7, 1942, in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan. He attended Kemmel Hill School in Antelope. Not being much interested in school, he began his working life at the age of 14 or 15 and initially took on short-term jobs such as hauling grain or bales. Ray was no stranger to hard work and change, and he soon became a jack of all trades. Prior to purchasing the home quarter in 1961 and becoming a grain farmer, Ray had several jobs, including water well drilling, autobody repair, and water hauling for an oil company. Over the many years that Ray considered himself to be primarily a farmer, he took on additional jobs to help make ends meet. In the early farming years, for example, Ray worked on the oil rigs over the winter months and would regularly be away from the farm for weeks at time depending on the location of the rig. After retiring from farming, Ray worked as a grader operator, first for the RM of Web, and later for Sorenson contracting.
Ray met Faye Gibson, his bride-to-be, when he was 15 years old. They were married on November 18,1961. Ray passed just three days short of their 62nd wedding anniversary.
Ray will be remembered for his many interests and passions. He was a member of the Antelope 4-H (gardening) growing up, and in his younger adult years was a member of both the Gull Lake Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Gull Lake Kinsmen Club.
Ray enjoyed playing hockey, curling, and golf. Ray was musical. Starting at the age of 14, he played the alto saxophone for various dance bands. His longest gig was with a dance band called the Encores. Ray had a passion for history. He was always grateful to receive history books and tales of the Old West as birthday and Christmas gifts. He always took advantage of opportunities to learn something of the history of each destination when on vacation. Ray liked to be on the move. He loved going for long drives, and he loved travelling, especially if it involved camping. In their retirement years, Ray and Faye became Snowbirds, and they spent much of the winter in the Western U.S. with their fifth wheel RV
in tow. Ray and Faye also had a love for Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and for the last few summers had parked their RV on a permanent site at the park.
In memory of Ray, and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Autumn House in Gull Lake ttps://www.autumnhouseindependentliving.com
Arrangements entrusted to Warren's Funeral Home. For further information please call 1-306-773-8831 or 1-800-267-6606, or visit our website at www.warrensfuneralhome.com and express your sympathy to family members on the tribute wall