A private service will take place for his immediate family.
Mr. Raymond G. Venegas, 74, passed away on his terms peacefully in his home surrounded with his loving family at his side on Sunday October 11, 2020.
He was born on April 26, 1946 in St. Paul, MN to Pilar Garcia Venegas. He was raised by his parents Pilar and Lucio Venegas in a loving home along with his brothers and sisters, Lupe Venegas, Alicea Munoz, Mary Francis Casas, Antonio (Tony) Venegas, Diomar (Lamar) Venegas, Joe Venegas, Mary Ellen Venegas, Johnny Venegas, and Gloria Venegas. He would spend his childhood living in St. Paul and Blytheville, Arkansas. He began his high school education at Humbolt High School in Minnesota, but would later graduate from Blytheville High School in Arkansas in 1965. While a student, he would be recognized for his athletic ability while participating in boxing, football, and track and field. After graduation he moved to Racine, WI where he met Mary Estrada and they were united in marriage in 1967. From this union in the year 1968 he began his journey into fatherhood, which he took great pride in raising his surviving children Melinda Venegas, Raymond Venegas, and Sylvia Lohry all of Racine, WI. Later in life, he would meet Janet Kober and they were married in 1990 where he added Sandra Galis (Dave) and Diana Haschker (Bill Jankowski) as his children.
Raymond worked for American Motors later known as Chrysler for 35 years retiring in 2003. He was a hardworking man and a champion for the worker. He spent the majority of his work life working at times six to seven days a week and giving of his time as a union steward.
He lived his life placing family first and foremost making sure to instill a respect for the love of your family. He always made himself available if and when his children and friends needed him. His greatest joy came in sharing his love with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He enjoyed playing his accordion and guitar for anyone who would listen. He was well known for his love of Elvis Presley and Tejano music. He was an avid sports enthusiast and while his children were growing up, he enjoyed being their coach and later promoted to the infamous sideline coach to his grandchildren. When he was healthy, he never missed a sporting event involving his grandchildren and he would brag about their athletic prowess to anyone who would listen. He would always call his daughter to make sure that she had read the Racine Journal Times to see his grandchildren’s name and pictures in the paper and add them to his collection of clippings that he kept in a box. He shared his love of sports with his grandchildren which included the occasional story of his big man on campus status during his high school days. No doubt reliving his track and field glory days, he showed up with a discus and shotput ready to take the grandkids to a field and give his expertise. He was their biggest cheerleader and you could count on him to be in the sidelines munching on popcorn and a hotdog with his diet Coke, where he was affectionately known as grandpa Venegas to his grandchildren’s friends. To his grandchildren he will always be the G.G.O.A.T. (Greatest Grandpa Of All Time), the MVP of their lives.
After retirement, he would still wake up at the crack of dawn and call only to say, “wake up and go to bed.” It wasn’t until years later that his children would learn that he took his grandchildren to various parks, and not knowing any better had fun being placed in dumpsters to collect aluminum cans. Yup, that was his new found hobby after retirement, the can hunter and junk collector. But since he couldn’t fit into a lot of places, he “persuaded” his grandchildren to do his bidding for him. He was living proof that “one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.” He was known to stop in the middle of the road to pick up a random can and leaving his trash treasures on your back doorstep. If you couldn’t reach him in all likelihood he could be found at a casino or gas station playing the slots. He was an avid lottery participant and his numbers always came in on the day he decided not play them (or so he claims). You could always catch him at a movie. And if you did, you’d better be prepared to hear loud popcorn crunching, talking, and the occasional snoring. Nothing got his blood flowing like a good action movie, mainly 007 or old school westerns and of course any movie with Elvis Presley. If you went out to eat with Raymond, be prepared for a belly jiggling good time. He never left the house without his hot peppers, which he snuck hidden in his shirt pocket. But don’t let the shirt fool you. He was one of few men that pulled off a plaid shirt with sweat pants and you didn’t even notice It took his grandchildren years into adulthood to notice their grandpa’s style. Raymond was a master cribbage player. Mainly because he never truly taught anyone how to play so he’d always win. Also, during retirement, he enjoyed going to Waterford once a month to meet up with his retirement buddies George and company for breakfast. One of the greatest pleasures in knowing Ray was his ability to bring laughter into the lives of everyone he met. He brought many laughs to his grandchildren driving around blasting Snoop Dog’s, Drop It Like It’s Hot while doing his silly fish dance. He loved all his grandchildren and they each enjoyed their own special bond with him. He was proud of all of them, as he affectionately called them, his burps. The pride, love, and joy that exuded from him when attending his first grandchild’s college graduation will always be a cherished memory.
During the last several years as his health and physical abilities diminished, he developed a treasured relationship with his mechanic Jim Gottfredson from Gups Westside Service in Racine and Ricky Kallenz at Rick’s Auto Body in Cudahy. They always made sure that jalopy of his wheelchair van could get him around. He wanted to make sure that his daughter Sylvia gave Ricky his 3 screw drivers and tool chests for his shop because, “Jim was rich and he could buy his own.”
His larger than life personality, his kind spirit, quick wit, and musical abilities will be his most cherished memories by all who knew him.
Raymond, Ray or Ramon by which he was affectionately known will be lovingly remembered by his former wife Mary E. Venegas and their children and grandchildren. First born, Melinda Venegas and her children Ruben, Jordan, Kaitlyn, Raven, Jillian, Krysta, and Richard along with great granddaughter Kavaya. Second born, Raymond Venegas and his son Elijah. His youngest, Sylvia Lohry and her children Melinda, Daria, Liliana, and Esai along with great grandchildren, Leilani, Minho Ray, and Ariella. Also, step daughters Sandra Galis and her children, Jessica and Miranda, Diana Haschker and her children Peter and Casey and great grandson Vincent with whom he had a very loving bond and was known solely by him as Juju. He leaves to cherish him his brothers and sisters, many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and countless friends.
Raymond was preceded in death by his parents Pilar and Lucio Venegas; his siblings Lupe, Johnny, and Mary Ellen; very special aunt and uncle Eleanor and Trinidad Garcia; and his wife Janet Venegas.
At Raymond’s request and with the family’s gratitude we would like to thank his physician, Dr. Chowdhury and his medical assistant Paula whom dad loved and always sang to her at every appointment for their outstanding care, treatment, and understanding in providing care for at times an exasperating patient.
A private service will take place for his immediate family.