Ray Runyon

Ray Robert Runyon Jr.

Tuesday, May 20th, 1947 - Monday, August 3rd, 2020
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Ray Robert Runyon Jr "Buz" born May 20,1947 passed away August 3, 2020 at Franciscan Hospice House under a sturgeon moon with Yar and Barbara at his side.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara, his son Yar Runyon (Rachel), his grandchildren Henry and Rosemary, his brother Michael Nardella (Eva), his nephews Robert Noe, Michael "Buzz"Noe (Michele) and his niece Chris Clark (Mark). His sister Carrie Bray Neher (Bob) died July 3, 2020.

Buz was born in Los Angeles, California and was a true California boy. He was an ocean swimmer, a surfer and a bicyclist. He had a gift for three dimensional thinking that translated into art, photography, sculpture and drawing. He had a gift for gab, was irreverent, funny and could talk to anyone about anything in a true and honest way. He was a hard worker and as a teenager worked laying bricks, building and painting to earn money for his hobbies, photography, archery, surfing and natty clothes.

He graduated from Hayward High School in 1966 and promptly took a bus to Canada to avoid the draft. Circumstances were such that he returned home found that he was drafted and voluntarily enlisted. He joined the Army in 1966 and was sent to Vietnam where he was a firefighter. The war experiences profoundly affected his entire life in body and soul as well as his family. He spent the last year in the service at Ft. Lewis, Wa. It was then that he met his life partner, Barbara, a Tacoma General Hospital School of Nursing student nurse at the Evergreen Ballroom dancing to Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts.

He and Barbara were married July 4th, 1970. Buz used his GI Bill to attend Bates Vocational Institute to learn boatbuilding and carpentery. During that time he built a Willits canoe, an El Toro sailboat called Yin Yang, and another sailboat named Titmouse that is still sailing on Lake Chelan. In 1973 he refurbished a 1924 28 foot English canoe stern sloop named Hind that was used for rescue during Dunkirk in WW11. He and Barbara became liveaboards at the Peninsula Yacht Basin in Gig Harbor. While living there he also refurbished a 1936 classic Olympia Long motorboat named Winnimar. They then raised their son Yar at another moorage next to the herring dock near the Tides Tavern for his sons first 5 years. One of the family 's best vacations was rowing their Wherry to Blake Island, spending the weekend and rowing back after a 5 mile hike on the Island, we laughed so hard because Barbara said it would only be a short walk.

When the boatbuilding industry took a downturn, he started work at Western State Hospital using his gifts to help patients by teaching them work skills.
He built a home for Barbara and Yar in Gig Harbor. He threw himself into fatherhood, supporting his son in school, Boy Scout Troop 217 and a variety of sports. He also during this time shaped some unique surfboards with the Pelican label.

Once retired from Western State Hospital he pursued his hobbies full throttle, he always quipped one only works to play. He motorcycled (3 different BMWs), fished in his 17 ft North River aluminum boat, bowhunted, practiced traditional archery with a variety of recurve and long bows; enjoyed photography, and taking trips Runyon style in his Sprinter van. He continued to be a reader of manuals, a tinkerer, a dreamer, and a teacher. He never missed an opportunity to teach and share his psyche with his wife, son, grandkids and anyone who wished. "Good night sweet prince".
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 | 12:30pm
    Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 12:30pm
    Tahoma National Cemetery
    18600 SE 240th St.
    KENT, WA 98042
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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With love & deepest sympathy, Buzz & Michelle sent flowers to the family of Ray Robert Runyon Jr.
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Kula Andreas

Posted at 05:08pm
RIP dear Buz, May your memory be eternal and may your time on this earth comfort Barb,Yar, grandkids with all the beautiful memories you have left.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Ray Runyon — Plant a Tree Now

Anne & Dave Holden

Posted at 01:40pm
Many good memories from working with Ray at Western State Hospital over several years. Wishing for good memories to help Barb, Yar and family through this tough time. Hopefully, he’s surfing the clouds and using his archery skills in the Cupid Corp.
Anne and Dave Holden

With love & deepest sympathy, Buzz & Michelle

Posted at 01:47pm
Aunt Barb: Please accept our most heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts & prayers are with you, Yar & all the family. Forever in our hearts, Uncle Buz!
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With love & deepest sympathy, Buzz & Michelle purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Ray Runyon. Send Flowers


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Ray Runyon
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