Donald Ray Ware, age 84, of Sturgis, Mich., passed away Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 28, 2012, at his home.
He was born June 3, 1928, in Three Rivers, Mich., a son of the late Victor and Delcie (Johnson) Ware.
Ray resided in Sturgis the past 50 years. His early life was lived in Colon and he was a graduate of Colon High School with the class of 1945.
On Sept. 1, 1951, he married Mary Lou Brinkman at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio.
He was a heavy equipment operator engineer by trade and had been involved in construction projects in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio working for several companies including Hoffman Brothers Construction Company and Holloway Construction Company.
Ray was proud to have served his country during World War II with the U.S. Army earning the rank of Private.
He was a member of the Holy Angels Catholic Church and Deacon Jerry Mix Knights of Columbus Council #2508. He was also a member of Neuman – Wenzel Post #73 American Legion, National Rifle Association and the Operating Engineers Union. He enjoyed fishing, shooting, hunting, reading, playing pool and crossword puzzles. For many years he donated his time ringing bells during the Christmas holiday season for the Sturgis Salvation Army.
Ray is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of nearly 61 years, Mary Lou; four daughters, Janet (Johnny) Cox of Bronson, Linda (Daryl) Thrams, Mary (Todd) Crites and Kathy Perry all of Sturgis; three sons, Tom (Traci) Ware of White Pigeon, Mike (his fiancée Marcia Herman) Ware of Sturgis and John (Nancy) Ware of Three Rivers; 22 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; one brother, Richard (Dolores) Ware of Sturgis; brother-in-law: Kenneth Wegner of Sturgis; sister-in-law, Barbara Ware of Sturgis; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Betty Wegner; one brother, Lyle Ware and two nieces, Jennifer Ware and Victoria Russell.
The family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Rd., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-3284 where the rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Funeral Mass celebrating the life of Donald Ray Ware will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Angels Catholic Church in Sturgis. The Rev. Father German Perez-Diaz will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the Mass at the Matteson Township Cemetery in Bronson. Full military honors will be conferred by Captain John J. Kelley Post #1355 VFW and the U.S. Army Honor Guard.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Ware’s memory consider the Holy Angels Catholic Church, 402 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, the Sturgis Salvation Army, 105 N. Fourth St., Sturgis, MI 49091, Eternal World Television Network (EWTN), 5817 Old Leeds Rd., Irondale, AL 35210, Thurston Woods Village, 307 N. Franks Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091 or the American Diabetes Association, 1701 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311.
The obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilfuneralhome.com where personal messages of support may be left for the family.