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E. Ray Denbow

Cedar Rapids

An amazing man, husband, father, grampy, uncle and friend went home on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at the Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. E. Ray Denbow was the devoted and beloved husband of Florence Waters Denbow, and father of two sons, Mike and his wife, Jenny (who was beloved as a daughter), of Scottsbluff, Neb., and Dave and sweetheart, Susan Reed (welcomed as a new daughter), of Arvada, Colo.
Ray had an undying love and sincere pride in his grandchildren, Jessie and husband, Tim Lewis, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Aslan of Cedar Rapids, Riff of Boulder, Colo., Grace of Rochester, Minn., Bree of Boston, Mass., and Megan Reed of Northglenn, Colo. He had sincere pride in those he called his adopted kids and grandkids. Among them are Julie (Ralph) Oltman, James (Kenzie) Bowers, Bekah Carcamo and others so dear to his heart. He was the last uncle of many treasured nieces and nephews.
Born Aug. 4, 1933, in Union, Iowa, Ray was the son of Paul P. and Fern (Payne) Denbow. He was the last survivor of seven children, Berta (C. Richard Brandon), Clifford (Dorothy Borisky), Elma (Leo Patten), Donna Jean, Viola R. (known as Pinky), and Jean (Paul Kluesner). Their family was raised in Marshalltown, Iowa. Ray came to Cedar Rapids in 1954, where he met Florence Waters, and they were married June 30, 1956. They celebrated nearly 62 years of marriage. Surviving are a sister- and brother-in-law, Margaret Waters-Parmer and Thomas Parmer of Wyoming, Iowa, and their two sons, Douglas (Donna) of Rowley and Dan (Beth) of Wyoming, Iowa.
He truly treasured all his nieces and nephews, but time and circumstances allowed him to become especially close to several of them, Linda (Buss) Bixby, Dawn (Jeff) Houtz, Donna (J.T.) Barber, Kevin (Cindy) Wahe and Steve (Susan) Wahe. A very special nephew, TJ Parmer, preceded him in death. Circumstances of his youth also made him especially close to the Shaffer family of Marshalltown, and the family of Annabel and Martin Fritz (Charles, Larry "Butch," Verne and Gary). He was welcomed as a son.
After 10 years at Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids, Ray packed up his family and they went on a life adventure together, as he attended college in Colorado. He graduated from Trinidad State College, and went on to become an electronics engineer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for over 25 years. That laboratory is situated in the mountains, and Ray was a man who dearly loved the mountains, where he skied, hiked, camped and spent time with his family. Grandchildren drew him back to Iowa in 1993 to be near Mike's family, but he was never happier than when his beloved mountains appeared on the horizon as he headed west to share time with Dave's family.
Ray was a self-taught mechanic who loved vintage cars, designing and building toys for his grandchildren and photography. He was especially proud of the black and white photos taken with his vintage camera and printed in his own darkroom. Ray was an avid reader, loved history and, especially, he loved visiting places he'd already visited in his reading. While not an athlete, he loved his sons' participation and coached several of their teams. He also was active in scouting with them. An Iowa boy, Ray always dreamed of skiing, and realized that dream while living in the west. The days he took his boys skiing were red-letter days for him. An empty space is left in so many lives, but Ray left good and giving memories behind.
Rather than a funeral service, Ray wanted to continue his legacy of love, caring and sharing with a Celebration of Life that will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the Legacy Center at Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home & Cremation Service, located at 520 Wilson Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids, where a time of sharing will begin at 3:30 p.m. Per his wishes, cremation has taken place and a private committal service will follow at a later date.
Many friends and relatives made the journey of the past weeks bearable, as did the staff of the Hospice House.
Please share a memory of Ray at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.