Raymond Wiley, 86
Raymond Wiley, age 86 of Fredericksburg, IA, died Saturday, December 1, 2018, at New Hampton Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
Funeral Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton with Rev. Kevin Frey officiating. Interment will be held in the New Hampton City Cemetery.
Friends may greet the family 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home in New Hampton where there will be a Masonic Service held at 4:30 p.m. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday.
Memorial gifts may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Ray Wiley of New Hampton—farmer, private pilot, hunter, fisherman, and lover of life—died Saturday, December 1, 2018, two weeks short of his 87th birthday, from complications of radiation cystitis.
The oldest child and only son of H.R. and Helen Wiley, Raymond Frank Wiley was born December 15, 1931 on the 60th birthday of his maternal grandfather, Frank Felton. Frank had bought a farm in 1926 in Chickasaw County, seven miles east of New Hampton where H.R. and Helen started farming after their marriage in 1927 and where Ray lived his entire life. Ray graduated in 1949 from New Hampton High School, then continued farming with his father.
On July 12, 1954, Ray married Orla Hildahl. When first married, they lived in a two-room house next to the home where Ray grew up. About a year later, H.R. and Helen moved to New Hampton to allow Ray and Orla to move into the farmhouse, where their children, Deb, Steve, Linda, and Sandy were raised. He was an active member of the local Beef Producers. The farm eventually transitioned from livestock to a corn and soybean operation. Ray's favorite activity, which he would enthusiastically proclaim every fall, was to combine corn. Steve followed in his Dad's footsteps and worked alongside him on the farm.
Ray also started Wiley Agri Construction for tile drainage, terraces, clearing, and trucking, including grain and livestock hauling. He brought many cattle to Iowa from Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. He was a member of the Land Improvement Contractors of America.
More than 20 years ago, Ray saw the value of additional markets for farmers' grain crops and joined an investor group to open the Exol ethanol plant in Albert Lea, Minnesota, now part of POET Biorefining. He remained an active board member until about a year ago.
Ray was a man of many interests and talents. While Orla was pregnant with the twins, he started taking flying lessons to become a private pilot (over Orla's objections). Flying became one of his many passions, and the entire family flew to destinations around Iowa and the Midwest, instilling his children with a deep love of flight. Eventually, a grass runway strip was created on the farm, dubbed "Wiley International Airport" (elevation 1,320 feet).
Ray also earned his instrument rating, allowing him to fly in many weather conditions. He was an avid volunteer at the week-long EAAAirVenture Oshkosh, an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was also a member of the Flying Fez of El Kahir Shrine, volunteers whose purpose is to transport patients and their family to a Shriner’s Children’s Hospital for treatment using aircraft owned and piloted by members.
As a young man, Ray became a Mason in the footsteps of his father and enjoyed Masonic activities, often serving in leadership roles. He was also an active member and leader of the New Hampton Lions Club and New Hampton Golf & Country Club.
In 1981, the Wileys built a new, single-story house that featured an elevator to the basement, causing a few hoots of amusement until years later when it became clear it was a perfect aid for Ray and Orla to age in place. Ray later decided to heat and cool the house using geothermal energy, one of the many ways in which he was an early adopter of technology.
Hunting and fishing were Ray's main hobbies. Combined with his love of travel, he roamed both North and South America in search of fish (oh, so many fish, especially in Canada), birds (including hunts in Mexico and Argentina), and game (such as elk and deer in the American Midwest and West). As much as he loved to hunt and fish, what Ray enjoyed, even more, was sharing these activities with his many friends.
Ray is survived by his wife of 64 years, Orla Wiley; children Deb Wiley (John Schmidt) of Des Moines; Steve Wiley of New Hampton; Linda Ruble (John Ruble) of West Des Moines; andSandy Gahn (Kathy Marean) of Urbandale; granddaughters Anna Ruble, a junior at Luther College, and Cady Ruble, a freshman at Iowa State University;his sisters, Mary Underwood of New Hampton, and Ellie Medberry (Cliff Medberry) of Elgin; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Louise Arens.