Raymond Calhoun, 86

Raymond Joseph Calhoun, a resident of Little Falls, died May 30, 2006, at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls.

Mass of Christian Burial was held June 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Little Falls with Fr. Mark Innocenti officiating. Burial was at the Oakland Cemetery with Military Rites provided by American Legion Post #46 and VFW Post #1112.

Raymond was born in Randall, to George E. and Clara (Portz) Calhoun. He was a life long resident of Morrison County. He was a member of the 1938 graduation class of Little Falls High School and attended St. John’s University. He married Helen Edryce “Edie” Thelander at Sacred Heart Church, now St. Mary’s, on July 30, 1941. Edie preceded him in death in 1979. He was employed at the Little Falls Packing Company through high school and college years, and in 1941 he accepted a sales position with the Little Falls Granite Works, located at a small downtown office at 42 E. Broadway. At that time the total personnel of the company was comprised of four people. Through his endeavors the firm grew to be in the top three percent of retail monument companies in the United States. In 1971 a new office and factory were completed at its present location on South Highway 10, and through his enterprises, and that of a qualified staff, employment grew to 26. At his retirement in 1986, he had become a major stockholder and had served as the president and sales manager for 25 years. In 1942 Ray enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and, after training at Farragut, ID, his tour of duty included Tulage, the Florida Islands, the Philippines, and participation in the D-Day initial invasion of Okinawa with a unit of Military Government and served there till war’s end returning to the U.S. Nov. 15 and receiving an honorable discharge. In addition to other contributions to his community he was elected president of the Monument Builders of North America. He further distinguished his career by serving on the Little Falls City Council for seven years, four of which he served as president. He was instrumental in providing leadership in getting the new water treatment plant, the new fire hall was constructed, the present city hall site was remodeled to provide offices and council chamber facilities, and additional land was acquired to construct and develop the 18 hole Municipal Golf Course. He also served on the America National Bank Board of Directors for seven years; he was a charter member of the Little Falls Exchange Club, and while serving as the president, the Boy of the Month program was initiated. Also, the first Freedom Shrine was presented to the Little Falls High School. He was a financial supporting member of the Little Falls Development Corporation and served as a director on its board. Ray married Rose Mary Eidenshink Aug. 8, 1980 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. They have made their home in Little Falls and wintered in San Jacinto, CA with a Christian faith described as a “true inspiration to others.” Ray had been an active member of St. Mary’s and Our Lady of Lourdes Parishes. At St. Mary’s he served as president of the board of education and served on the cemetery board, and on the Church Finance Committee. He also served as a Eucharistic Minister and usher at St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joseph’s Parish in San Jacinto, CA, and for several years served as a Catechist to the children at St. Joseph’s Indian Mission. Ray was no newcomer to supporting youth and sport activities at all levels. In recognition of the Little Falls High School’s Boys and Girls Minnesota State Championship basketball teams, he and his company erected beautiful granite plaques in honor of their achievements. He sponsored the Little Falls Granite Works Girls Softball teams in league and state competition for years- winning the Minnesota State Softball Championship in Class D in 1983. In recognition of these community contributions he was honored by the Little Falls Jaycees at its 1983 annual awards meeting, held at the Little Falls Ballroom, presenting Ray with the “Boss of the Year Award” for his exemplary employee relationships. After receiving the award he thanked the Jaycees for the honor, but also, in a contemplative response, stated, “This being the eve of Thanksgiving please join me as a group, as a community in thanking the Little Falls Jaycees for being people of character, people of ability, and people of strength for their continual dedicated service to our community.”

Ray is survived by his wife Rose Mary Calhoun of Little Falls; children, Carol (Martin) Bolduc of Gainesville, VA, Robert (Louise) Calhoun of St. Cloud, Tim (Debbie) Calhoun of Little Falls, and Donald (Katherine) Calhoun of Cold Spring; step-daughter, Linda Poissant of Coon Rapids; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; brothers, C.C. “Speed” (Gayle) of San Jose, CA and Richard (Darlene) Calhoun of Danville, CA; sisters, Sara Ganfield of Marquette, MI, Ann Hansen of Benecia, CA, Dona (Gene) Bittrolff of Clearwater, FL and Clara (Wally) Ritchie of Salem, MA and brother-in-law Harold Monahan of Little Falls.

He was preceded in death by his wife, H. “Edie” in 1979; his parents; children, James Patrick and Barbara Ann; brothers, George and Thomas; sisters, Peggy Round, Catherine Bednark, Bea Monahan and Rose Mary.

Casketbearers were John Monahan, Tom Monahan, Ricky Koester, Ron Nagel, Jerry Erickson and Gene Pappenfus.

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