Raymond Charles Jergeson

 

February 6, 2019

Raymond Charles Jergeson, long-time resident of Great Falls, died on Friday, January 25 after four months of hospice care at the home of his sister Louise and her husband, Roger Harvey in Missoula. Ray was born on June 4, 1942 in Havre, MT as the oldest of five children born to John and Elizabeth (Malsam) Jergeson of Chinook.

Ray and his siblings were raised on the family farm south of Chinook. His first grade was spent at Lohman school. Then he attended his second one-room country school, Miewald, and graduated from eighth grade in 1956. He graduated from Chinook High School in 1960, where he excelled in speech and drama, and loved history and civics.

After High School, Ray enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served honorably for four years. He was stationed in Northern Honshu, Japan at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1964, he entered Northern Montana College in Havre where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education (English) in three years, and then spent his fourth year doing graduate studies at Kent State University in Ohio.

Starting in the fall of 1968, Ray taught High School English in Sheridan, Wyoming. From there he accepted teaching assignments in Oregon and Ravalli County, Montana.

For 10 years he was a field representative for the National Farmers Organization in Montana, and staff director at the national headquarters in Corning, Iowa. Following that, he partnered with Jack Lawson to operate CIMS, a firm that provided marketing consulting and assistance to farmers in Montana.


During the final years of his professional career, Ray worked as a Planner & Grant Writer for Opportunities, Inc. in Great Falls, Montana. Outside of work, Ray was noted for his involvement in volunteer and community activities. Those included Habitat for Humanity and the Habitat ReStore, Veterans for Peace, the Muscular Dystrophy Assn.,and Toastmasters. Known for his political activism, Ray was a determined advocate for gay rights and other social issues, through the Democratic Party and other organizations. Always the teacher, Ray's frequent letters to the editor in the Great Falls Tribune were always compelling and thought-provoking.

In 1990, Ray joined Alcoholics Anonymous and with the loving support of family and his many friends, successfully treated the disease of alcohol addiction from that time forward. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, John and Elizabeth Jergeson. He is survived by his sister Louise (Roger) Harvey of Missoula, brother Roger (Nita) Jergeson, brother Greg (Barb) Jergeson, and sister Evelyn (Ken) Schubert, all of Chinook. He is also survived by two generations of nieces and nephews.


He lived with courage, determination, and graciousness as he faced the challenges of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and cancer. His sense of humor remained alive and well to the very end. He ended his Life as a Peaceful Warrior. He is loved by many!

Family and friends will participate in a celebration of Ray's life sometime later this spring, his favorite season of the year. On-line condolences and memories may be sent to http://www.whitesittfuneralhome.com. Cards for the family may be mailed to Louise Harvey, 901 S. 5th St. W., Missoula, MT 59801, or Greg Jergeson, PO Box 1568, Chinook, MT 59523. Memorials may be made to Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of Missoula, Veterans for Peace or the charity of one's choice.

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