Raymond “Ray” Gilstad, 81, of Keene, N.D., died peacefully at his rural Keene residence, surrounded by his family on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015.
Raymond was born to, Edgar and Effie (Stedman) Gilstad, on May 8, 1934, the 10th of 13 children. He lived in the Keene area his entire life. Raymond completed eighth grade at the Berg School and then remained at home to help his parents.
In 1957, Ray married Linda (Ewen) and together they raised three children, Debbie, Rusty and Cindy.
Ray worked for oil field service companies before working for Amerada Hess for 27 years, and while doing so, he also farmed and raised cows. Times were tough in the beginning, but his hard work created opportunity to expand his operation.
After he retired from Amerada Hess, he was finally able to farm and ranch full-time. Being able to work was always important to Ray. He always said he just didn’t feel right if he didn’t do a little work every day. Ray and Linda are proud that their children and grandchildren share those same values.
Ray served on the Keene Rural Fire Department, many community boards, and as a member of the Long X Wagon Train. Ray loved to hunt deer and looked forward to having family and friends around for that season. He and Linda spent many evenings driving around scouting for the “big one.” Ray loved the rodeo, especially a good bareback ride. In 1956, Ray won the North Dakota Amateur Bareback Riding title. For 30 years he judged for various rodeo associations and was always willing to help young competitors. He also enjoyed a good game of pinochle or whist.
Ray loved his animals and was happiest when working outside. He seemed to always have a few extra horses around and made sure the barn cats were fed. Ray was never too busy to lend a helping hand to his neighbors and friends. Ray always had time, when the work was done, to have a little fun too!
Ray and Linda cherished the time they spent with their three grand-kids and great-grandson, whether they were at events or just around the ranch. Christmas Day was particularly special when the whole family would spend the day at the Gilstad Ranch. Giving his grand-kids a ride in his Willy’s Jeep was always a treat and Ray was proud to have many honorary grand-kids, in addition to his own, who called him “Grandpa.”
Simply put, Ray loved life. He enjoyed visiting and getting to know people. There were few people he didn’t get along with, but he rarely spoke ill of anyone. His smile, laugh and stories will be missed by many, but not forgotten.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Effie; sisters Dorothy, Myrtle, Ida and Ila; brothers Albert, Walter, Merrill, Clifford and Norman; sons-in-law John Rhodes and Bruce White.
Ray is survived by his wife of 58 years, Linda, Keene, N.D.; daughter Debbie (Dave) Harsche, Killdeer, N.D.; son Rusty (Tammy) Gilstad, New Salem, N.D.; daughter Cindy Rhodes, Rawson, N.D.; granddaughter Carrie (Doug) Beer, Isabel, S.D.; grandson Will (Becky) Aasen, Alexander, N.D.; granddaughter Marci Gilstad (Rilie Larson), Almont, N.D.; great-grandson Luke Beer; sisters Lillian Gravos, Watford City, N.D.; Geneva Chambers, Columbia Falls, Mont.; and Eleanor Metzler, Williston, N.D.
His funeral service was held at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, at the Keene First Lutheran Church, northeast of Keene, N.D. Pastor Rob Favorite officiated. Interment was in the Clear Creek Cemetery, southwest of Keene.
Friends called at the Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home in Watford City, N.D. on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and at the church on Friday one hour prior to services.