Raymond “Ray” Dietz
Raymond “Ray” Dietz passed away December 17th of 2021, after a short illness, non-covid related. He was surrounded by his grandchildren and holding the hand of the love of his life, Patty. He was born in Hesper, Montana on October 15th, 1936, to Jake and Caroline (Tintzman) Dietz. He was the second of four children.
Ray was very active and proud of being in the class 1956 at Billings Senior High. He made many lifelong friends, and until recently, they routinely continued to have reunions and gatherings. Ray enlisted in the Army, serving in the 969th Field Battery Battalion, deploying to South Korea. Here again, he made lifelong friends who live across the United States. They’ve continued to stay in touch all these years.
Ray and his manager at the Heights IGA stopped at the Kings Cafe for lunch. There, he was waited on by a young Patty O’Donnell, whom he would ask out on a date and eventually marry (September 2nd, 1961), and share the next 60 plus years.
Ray and Patty raised three children, six grandchildren, numerous friends, and adopted family members in the same house for 56 years. They celebrated many birthdays, weddings, holidays, and family dinners. Through the years, many friends knew that if the driveway was full of cars, it was a good time to stop by.
Ray and Patty opened Dietz Auto and Truck Salvage in 1970, and it continues to operate today, recently celebrating its 50th year. Ray and his family’s love of cars went beyond just the business, his children racing anything on wheels. They often traveled across the Western United States after work to race tracks for an afternoon. His children have retired from racing, but his grandson has kept racing sprint cars, keeping the love of the sport alive. It’s no doubt where his children and grandchildren got their driving skills and heavy foot.
Ray was immensely proud of his family. He would update everyone on anything going on in the lives of his children. Just when he thought he had everything he needed, the grandchildren came along — adding six new members to his family. And this became the joy of his life. His grandchildren always knew that “Papa” or Grandpa was a phone call away anytime they needed him. They had a secret weapon for many school projects, boys scouting, racing, horse events, or just about anything they did. Their Grandpa could build anything! He loved them all equally, but each of us felt like his favorite.
Ray was an incredibly gifted artist, a skill everyone in his family wishes they had inherited. His stained-glass nativities, lamps, windows, and other projects were always beautiful. He also made leather belts, wallets, briefcases, and most recently, dice cups for the family dinner games. He also could paint any design that kids or grandkids could imagine on race vehicles or pinewood derby cars.
He is survived by the love of his life Patty, married over 60 years. His three children survive him. Kelly Selph, grandsons Will Selph, Chris Selph, and fiancée Kasey Anderson. His son Ken Dietz and fiancée Rhonda Schuchard, grandson Phil and Lisa Dietz, and granddaughter Ashley and Kyle Bomar. His son Jeff and Dana Dietz, granddaughter Korrin, and grandson Preston. His sisters Doris Brusso and Barbara Bender, many nieces, nephews, and lifelong friends.
His parents Jake and Caroline, parent-in-laws Ray and Thelma O’Donnell brother Morris, brother-in-law Mike O’Donnell, daughter-in-law Robyn, many other family members and too many friends to count were waiting at the pearly gates.
The funeral service will be held at St. Bernard’s Parish (226 Wicks Lane) at 10 a.m. Monday, December 27th. A luncheon will be held following the service at the Knights of Columbus (2216 Grand Ave.)
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to St. Bernard Church Elevator Fund or the charity of your choice.
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