Raymond “Ray” Edward Wombacher

Raymond “Ray” Edward Wombacher

Raymond “Ray” Edward Wombacher

Iowa City

Raymond “Ray” Edward Wombacher, 86, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Aug. 24, 2022, due to cancer complications.

A rosary will be recited at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at St. Wenceslaus in Iowa City. Visitation will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. and a prayer service will conclude visitation at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, at St. Wenceslaus. Interment will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery.

Ray was born in Tiffin, Iowa, on July 1, 1936, to Ernest J. and Genevieve G. Wombacher. He graduated from City High in 1954 and attended the University of Iowa for a year. He spent years working in the building industry. He started with Paul Boyd Construction working alongside and learning from his father. Ray became one of the most highly respected craftsmen in the Johnson County area, a gift he passed on to his two sons.

In 1957, he married Nancy Edgar and they had five children, all of whom he was fiercely proud.

In 1964, Ray joined the Iowa City Fire Department as a Firefighter. He subsequently moved up the ranks to Lieutenant in 1971, to Captain in 1973 and to Battalion Chief in 1978. He retired in 1991. Ray was a stickler for efficiency and always the first one into a fire. To save valuable time in donning his gear, he wore special pull-on boots and for this reason was nicknamed “Hoppy,” a nickname that stuck with most firefighters.

During his tenure on the fire department, he continued to build on his days off. He would often hire a fellow firefighter, Bob Hein to help on some of the bigger projects and the two families became very close. Both Bob and Ray were seriously injured in the Mercy Hospital explosion in 1969. Bob’s injuries were significant and debilitating; and in the years following, Ray, with the help of several other firefighters would build a room on the Hein house so that Bob could be cared for at home.

Ray was a lifelong member of St. Wenceslaus Church, serving several terms on the church council. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Iowa Firefighters’ Association. Additionally, in the 1960s and 70s he was a member of the Holy Rollers Bowling Team with Fathers Bachman, Linnenbrink Benda and Helms.

He was a “comfort food” cook, loved to dance, played a mean game of euchre or Texas Hold ’Em and was an avid golfer who loved to beat Willa Dickens. Ray was a loyal Hawkeyes fan, helped to build several Habitat for Humanity homes and with good friend, Jerry Rogers served as co-general contractor on one Habitat home.

Ray is survived by his wife of 65 years, Nancy; five children, Teresa Alyson (Teri) VanDyke of Bettendorf, Michael William of Tiffin; Sandra Jean (Jeff) Barnes, Janet Lea (Kevin) Pearson and Patrick Ernest (Sherry), all of Iowa City; 14 grandchildren, William Jay and Jessica Nancy VanDyke; Jason Ray Barnes (Stephanie) and Jennifer Lynn Barnes; Calvin Jay, Maxwell Ray and Madeline Anne Pearson; and Lindsey Kathleen and Nicholas Patrick Wombacher, Nathan Robert Hess, Joshua Patrick and Rachel Ray Wombacher-Hess; and four great-grandchildren, Miyah Michelle, Jaxson Arthur, Ava Marie and Remy Ray.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Iowa City Hospice or Regina Foundation and online condolences may be shared at www.lensingfuneral.com.

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