Raymond “Ray” William Voss

RANDOLPH -- Raymond “Ray” William Voss, age 85 years, 9 months, passed away on October 24, 2020 at Randolph Health Services. 

Ray was born on January 24, 1935 on the Voss farm in Dekorra Township to Raymond R and Helen Voss.  He attended Portage School through the 8th grade.  At age 14 Ray used money from his paper route, delivering groceries, and snow shoveling jobs to purchase four Toro lawn mowers. He hired other kids and started his own lawn mowing business.

In the mid 1950’s while working at the C. J. Berst cheese plant in Portage, Ray took several correspondence courses to learn TV repair, electrical, and refrigeration. Starting with a little radio and appliance repair shop in the back yard, he later purchased a building in downtown Rio and began operation as Voss TV and Appliance Sales & Service where he served surrounding communities for 25 years. During that time he also learned plumbing and refrigeration, and became a Master Electrician. He taught Basic Electricity night classes in Fall River for UW Madison.  He was married to Rosemary Jacobson in 1954

Among Ray’s many interests, he was past president of the Lake Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, past member of the Portage Elks, past member of the Rio Fire Department, and an instructor for FEMA.

Inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, and others of that era, Ray had a lifelong passion for country music. At age 14 he started an 8 pc band that performed at various places around Portage, including his weekly country music radio show at the WIBU remote radio station which was located above the National Bank in downtown Portage. In 1951 at age 16 he formed a Saturday Night Jubilee at the VFW Hall above the Portage Police Station, (now the Blarney Stone Tavern). His music career continued with a couple of appearances on the Grand Old Opry, and two recordings with his band, the Rio Ramblers. Ray and his band traveled all over Wisconsin and their busy schedule had them performing many Fridays and Saturdays. They were proud to win second place at the Country Music Festival, Battle of The Bands in Baraboo. In 1972 he went back to Nashville and released two solo recordings with Johnny Gimble and other professional band members. He was on the edge of pursuing his dream of a professional music career in Nashville, but to his credit, he returned back home to his responsibilities in Rio where he continued in his TV repair business while bringing up four children by himself.

In 1982 He sold his TV business and purchased The Lamp Light Motel, which he operated with Jeanie Jahn for 34 years. Raymond had a love for his Lord and struggled with declining health issues for several years which forced them to close the Motel in 2016.

Raymond was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Helen, his sister Ruby, brother August, daughter Sylvia in infancy, son Gordon, one great grandchild, his love of forty years, Jeanie Jahn and one niece.

Raymond is survived by three of his children, Donald (Ardis), Susan (Vernon Schultz), James (Tina), 7 Grandchildren, 9 Great Grandchildren, his sister Eunice, brother Joseph (Diane), brother Henry (Trudy) and 7 nieces and nephews.

In consideration of public safety due to Covid19, Ray’s family has made the difficult decision to have a private, immediate family only graveside service.  The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Columbia County Humane Society, W7768 Industrial Rd., Portage, WI 53901, or to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, 711 E. Cook St., Portage, WI  53901.

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For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)