“The greatest good a man can do is to cultivate himself in order that he may be of greater use to humanity”. Marshall Field
A man who exemplifies these words was Raymond Pajula of Marquette and longtime Ishpeming resident and business owner. Ray passed away on January 27th at the age of 96. He died peacefully at his home on Lake Superior surrounded by his family and his canine best friend Freddie.
Ray was born on May 10, 1921 to Sulo and Ida Pajula. At a very early age Ray worked as a chore boy at lumber camps where his parents were employed. Because of the camps remote locations, Ray was sent to live with relatives and friends in order to attend school. He attended 11 different schools before graduating from Negaunee High School in 1939.
As a youth Ray worked in the CCC Camps, followed by enrollment in Milwaukee School of Engineering. His studies were interrupted when he enlisted in the Navy during WWII where he served as a Sea Bee in the South Pacific.
In 1946 this avid fisherman married the “catch of his life”, Doreen Heard, his wife of 68 years. Together they raised 5 children.
Ray and his partner Taisto Maki founded P&M Construction Company and Ishpeming Redi Mix Cement Plant. Ray loved the challenge of the construction bidding process.
Ray was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church where he served in many capacities. He was a lifelong Shriner, member of the Elks, a founding member of NMU’s Golden Wildcat Club, and a Rotarian who received the Paul Harris Fellow award. He also was a member of the Finnish Council in America and an avid supporter of Finlandia University. Ray was a board member and board president of Bay Cliff Health Camp where he was instrumental in its first transformation from farm to therapy center. He supported the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and many community and philanthropic organizations. He was known for his many acts of kindness and support of individuals in need.
Ray was an active outdoorsman until recent years. He enjoyed summers at the family camp on Fish Lake and winters in Phoenix. He and his wife traveled the world.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, wife Doreen, and stepbrother Erik Riekkola.
He is survived by his 5 children Judy (Dave) Pross of Florence, AZ; Gail (David) Hebein of Ishpeming; Sandy (Bob) Flynn of Ishpeming; Lindy (Rick) Haapanen of Zion,IL and Mark Pajula of Marquette. In addition he will be missed by 9 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Ray’s family will greet relatives and friends at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Ishpeming on Friday February 2, 2018 from 10:00am until the time of the service at 12:00pm, Rev. Lauri O. Maki will be officiating. Military honors will be accorded by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 380. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Interment will take place at the Ishpeming Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be his grandchildren and their spouses.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the Bay Cliff Health Camp at PO Box 310 Big Bay, MI 49808 or at baycliff.org.
The family is grateful to Diane, Mary, Lynn and Nancy who lovingly cared for him, allowing him to continue to live in the home he loved in his final years. Thanks also to U.P. Home Health & Hospice for their care & support.
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