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William Word
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William ‘Ray’ Word, also known as ‘Big Ray,’ 65, of Twain Harte died Monday, June 22 in Sonora of complications resulting from gastric by-pass surgery.
He was born in Modesto and raised in Oakdale. He graduated from Oakdale High School in 1962. He was a resident of Twain Harte for 25 years.
Mr. Word was a Master Mechanic ASE Certified in all categories with a specialty in diesel mechanics. He was shop foreman for Mother Lode Motors for 20 years.
He was a dedicated and loving husband, father, and grandfather. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and reading western novels. He will be missed by his dogs Sparky, Cricket, Chico, and Skippy.
He was a Life Member of the National Rifle Association; he was the Resident Agent and Treasurer of the Tuolumne Band of Cherokee Indians (TBCI), being one of the original six Founders and a Tribal Elder; he built and played Indian flutes; he was Vice President of the Tuolumne County Amateur Radio Electronic Society (TCARES); Amateur Radio Operator Extra Class ‘KB6CEG’; now a silent key Red Cross volunteer; he was also a Santa to ill children, making house calls.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Lynda M. Word of Twain Harte; sons, David Ray Word of Brookings, OR and Michael Alva Word of Twain Harte; granddaughter, Renee Jane Word of Twain Harte; siblings, Betty (Glenn) Gatlin of Moorpark, Jim (Alberta) Word of Ventura, John (Chris) Word of Oakdale; aunts and uncles, Phil (Georgie) Lewis of Shawnee, OK, Bob (Nadine) Word of Oxnard, Marshall (Ellen) Lewis of Empire; nieces and nephews, Glenn Jr. (Jane) Gatlin of Moorpark, Carla (Jeannie) Gatlin of Ventura, Steven Word of San Luis Obispo, Joan (Gary) Phelps of Ventura, Stephanie (Damien) Johnson of Oakdale, Brett (Alicia) Word of Oakdale, Joanie (Ray) Little of Salida; in laws, Alva and Alleene Keith of Soulsbyville; brother-in-law, Gary (Marilyn Kay) Keith of Dayton, NV; five great nieces, four great nephews; and life long best friend, Ron Largent of Modesto.
He was preceded in death by his father in 1981, James S. Word; mother in 2006, Ruby N. Word Faria; and brother in 1934, Samuel Ray Word.
A memorial funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14 at All Saints Catholic Church, Twain Harte.
Remembrances may be made to Tuolumne Band of Cherokee Indians, Inc., P.O. Box 612, Twain Harte, CA 95383, (209) 605-5743; or to Tuolumne County Amateur Radio Electrical Society, P.O. Box 3555, Sonora, CA 95370.
Terzich & Wilson Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
July 8, 2009