Ray was born in Lakefield, MN on February 12th, 1920 to John and Mary Mlazgar and died on February 12th, 2014 shortly after a family celebration of his 94th birthday. He grew up in Pipestone, MN and graduated from Pipestone High School. In 1940, Ray enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard. On November, 22nd, 1941 Ray shipped out from San Francisco with the 147th Field Artillery on a confidential mission to protect the Philippines from enemy attack. The company’s ship departed Pearl Harbor on November 30th and was at sea exactly one week when that base was attacked. A declaration of war rerouted the 147th to Australia where they “dug-in” to protect the northern section of that country. Fortunately, Allied Naval and Air forces halted Imperial expansion from reaching Australia in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Ray served 38 months in the South Pacific during World War II and was involved in many island invasions as the Allies began to retake land from the enemy.
After his military discharge in 1945, Ray attended St. Thomas College and The University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. On a bus ride from southwestern Minnesota to Minneapolis, Ray met Dolores Ann Zwaska. They married at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Shakopee on June 7th, 1947 and over the years raised 4 children at their homes in Minneapolis and Bloomington.
After graduating from the U of M in 1950, Ray started his career as a design engineer with Electric Machinery of Minneapolis. Eventually Ray worked as a sales engineer for Volco Co., Pyle National Co. and Hubbell Lighting. In 1970 Ray formed a manufacturer’s representative agency, R.L. Mlazgar Associates, Inc., which has grown to now include 19 highly skilled staff members. Ray was a member of the North Central Electrical League for over 50 years and was honored as a Life Long Member in 2002.
Beyond military, family and career, Ray enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing, supporting MN sporting teams and had a notable skill in billiards. Ray competed on several occasions representing the St. Paul Athletic Club in the National 3 Cushion Billiards Tournament. Playing pool against Ray has been known to cause financial losses to opponents including a car on one occasion.
Preceded in death by parents, John and Mary; sister, Marge Neale; brothers, John and Louis Mlazgar; sisters-in-law, Sister Aleda (CST), Florence Windschitl, Roslia Zwaska, Cathy Zwaska; brothers-in-law, John Zwaska, Leonard Zwaska, Ray Zwaska, Bill Beal and Dick Windschitl.
Ray is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dolores; children, Mike (Marlys), Mark (Kim), Tom and Lisa; grandchildren, Lindsay Mlazgar, Chris Mlazgar, Jerry Moore, Keri Storms; 4 great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; sisters-in-law, Donna Mlazgar, Cyrilla Beal and Elizabeth Zwaska.
Ray was a man of strong Christian faith with a warm presence, great sense of humor and endless stories. He truly loved his life, his family and will be missed by all who knew him.
Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday 10 AM at the Church of the Nativity of Mary, 9900 Lyndale Ave. So. Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Visitation Tuesday 4-7 PM at Gill Brothers Funeral Home 9947 Lyndale Ave. So. And 1 hour prior to Mass at Church. Memorials preferred to The Salvation Army.
BLOOMINGTON, MN 952 888 7771