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Raymond George Wadsworth

October 8, 1933 ~ March 18, 2018 (age 84)

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Raymond George Wadsworth was born in Great Falls, MT on October 8, 1933 to Richard and Pauline (Kraft) Wadsworth.  The family moved to Floweree, MT where he was raised on the farm.  The oldest of four children, he learned to work hard and smart at an early age.  He attended and graduated from Fort Benton schools.  He enjoyed playing football and his team took the championship his senior year.

In August of 1952 he met the love of his life, Donna Faye Price.   He decided to continue his education and enrolled at the College of Great Falls in the fall of that same year.  During this time, Ray attended classes, studied, worked and he and Donna started their family.  He graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree in math and a minor in chemistry in 1955.  Soon after he took his first teaching job in Valier, MT. His love of learning and knowledge made teaching the perfect job for him and he went on to teach in Joplin, Anaconda, Havre, and Box Elder, MT. 

Ray was awarded a scholarship to continue his education and therefore moved the family to Grand Forks, North Dakota where he attended the University of North Dakota, receiving a Masters’ Degree in math and science.  He continued teaching and while in Box Elder he and Donna tried their luck at farming, but soon discovered that it was not going to work out because Ray was allergic to everything on the farm!  This was a big blow to Ray because he missed farming from his time growing up on the farm.

He was asked to assist in starting the Kicking Horse Job Corp. in Ronan, MT. under the John F. Kennedy administration.  So, the family moved again!  Ray was hired as the Assistant Center Director under Wilson Woodger.   With this job came challenges and situations that would allow him to educate and change lives for the better.

When the center went under redirection, Ray took this opportunity to return to teaching again in the public schools.  He took a job with the Ronan High School teaching German, math, and coaching at the junior high level.   Later, Ray and Donna bought a piece of ground in Pablo and began a mobile home park.  This lead to the other business of selling and setting up mobile homes and campers while Donna managed a ceramic shop.

When both sets of parents required assistance due to aging, Ray retired from teaching, sold out and moved to Great Falls, Montana.   He didn’t sit idle for long, applying for and taking on the new position of Director for Montana Rural Water Systems.  He began his career with MRWS in 1979 and played a pivotal role in forming and structuring MRWS and became an icon at Montana Rural Water and around the state.  He also fulfilled his dream of building an underground, solar house.  Upon retirement from this position he stayed on as a consultant and mentor for the program he helped to implement.

Ray had a tremendous love for his family and friends.   Donna organized an annual family reunion at Silverwood Theme Park that Ray looked forward to every summer.  Ray’s favorite part was the fireworks. (Ooooh that’s a pretty one!)  Ray enjoyed fishing, sightseeing and had spent a few winter months in sunny Arizona.  Ray was an educator, mentor, businessman and water professional.  He had a strong work ethic that he instilled in his children and in turn his grandchildren.  He had a genuine kindness and love for people.  He loved to tell stories and jokes.   Ray had a warm and friendly greeting for everyone.  Ray had a remarkable smile and the bluest eyes that sparkled when he was laughing. 

Dad was extremely grateful to his son Daniel Lynn for the wonderful love and care he provided for him over the last three and ½ years of his life.  This allowed Ray to be able to live out his remaining years at home.  For this generous, selfless act Dan’s mother, brothers and sisters wish to recognize and thank him.

Ray is survived by his wife Donna of 64 years; daughters, Charlotte (Jim) Sheumaker, Rita (Scott) Tingey, Julie (Jim) Burckhard; sons, Daniel (Wendy) Wadsworth, Terry (Lynda) Wadsworth, Larry (Lisa) Wadsworth; sisters, Marilyn Chisholm, Darlene Steffani; brother, Eddward Wadsworth; 25 grandchildren; 54 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Visitation will be held Friday, March 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM in the Rose Room Chapel at Croxford Funeral Home.  His Funeral Service will be Saturday the 24th at 10 AM, with a Visitation one-hour prior, also at Croxford Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers a donation can be made in his name to the Montana Rural Water Systems; make the check payable to MRWS Educational Fund; mail to MRWS, 925 7th Ave South, Great Falls MT  59405




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