Raymond Jirele

RAYMOND EDWARD JIRELE, age 72 of Waseca died on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato following a valiant 5 year battle with stage 4 mantel cell lymphoma which was caused by Agent Orange exposure during his service in Vietnam.

Born on April 6, 1947 in Owatonna, Minnesota, he was the son of Raymond Joseph and Bertha Pelagia (Deml) Jirele.  He attended St. Mary’s School in Owatonna before graduating from the Southern School of Agriculture in Waseca in 1965.  Ray enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas before receiving 52 weeks of electronics training in Biloxi, MS.  In 1967 he was stationed in Idaho during the 6 Day War.  Ray went on to serve in Vietnam during the TET Offensive where he worked on the forward looking radar systems of the RF4C reconnaissance planes.  A plane that he had been working on took a direct hit while he was retrieving a tool in the hangar.

Following his discharge, he returned to Waseca and began working at the E.F. Johnson Co.  Ray married his high school sweetheart, Susan Marie Carleton on May 24, 1969.   He went on to attend Southwest State University in Marshall before studying electrical engineering at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  While in Moscow Ray worked as an EMT with the fire department.  Following their return to Waseca, Ray worked at the E. F. Johnson Co. for 25 years.  He went on to work at Pemstar in Rochester which became Benchmark before retiring in 2014.   Ray realized he didn’t enjoy retirement and began working for Creation Technologies in St. Peter where he was currently employed.   He enjoyed tractor and threshing shows, riding motorcycle and fixing things.    Ray was a member of Grace Baptist Church in Waseca and was a lifetime member of the NRA.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Susan of Waseca; five children, Sonja Lynn of Eagle Lake, Sarah (Adam) Kahnke of Smithfield, VA, Christine (Jay) Arenas of Longmont, CO, Allison (Brett Byers) Jirele of Waseca, and Daniel (Cricket) Jirele of Waldorf; and 18 grandchildren, Michelle Lynn, Randy (Allie) Lynn, William Lynn, Jesse Lynn, Kayla Lynn, Allan Kahnke, Alexander Kahnke, Christian Kahnke, Joseph Kahnke, Elizabeth Kahnke, Evangeline Kahnke, Juliette Arenas, Elijah Arenas, Jeremiah Arenas, Grayson Byers, Jace Jirele, Christian Jirele, and Uriah Jirele.  He is also survived by his mother, Bertha Jirele of Puyallup, WA; siblings, Ramona (Harvey) Wheeler of The Woodlands, TX, Virginia (Bob) Rohrer of Puyallup, WA, and Dennis (Judy) Jirele of Red Wing; and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his father; sister, Cecelia (Dave) Erickson; and granddaughter, Clara Jirele.

Visitation will be held on Monday, January 13, 2020 from 4-7 PM at Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services – Third Street Chapel in Waseca and continue on Tuesday, one hour before services at the church.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 2:00 P.M. at Grace Baptist Church in Waseca.  Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Waseca County. 

To send condolences to the family click here.