Raymond Waechter

Obituary of Raymond Reitan Waechter

Raymond Reitan Waechter passed away in Willmar, Minnesota, on June 12, 2024, at the age of 87.

Raymond was born April 10, 1937, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Anne (Reitan) and Raymond (Bud) Charles Waechter, the eldest of five children. In 1941, he and his younger brother Parker moved with their parents back to his father’s hometown of Glen Ullin, North Dakota, where his siblings Sandra, James, and Deborah would be born. He spent his boyhood riding horses, hunting, playing football, basketball, and baseball in high school, and working for his father at the Curlew Elevator and Lumber Co. Raymond was active in Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. As a scout he assisted at the dedication of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1949, an event attended by state and federal dignitaries that attracted more than twenty thousand spectators. He graduated from Glen Ullin High School in 1955, then attended St. Olaf College for two years before graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1960 with a Bachelor of Philosophy. In 1966, he earned his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

Raymond practiced law in Willmar for 54 years, retiring from his firm, Waechter & Gustafson, in 2020. His personal injury law practice took him across central Minnesota and the Twin Cities, representing insurance companies and private parties. Raymond was a community leader, serving on the Rice Memorial Hospital Board, as well as civic organizations including the Elks and the Owls. He was instrumental in establishing the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Willmar. In 2012, Raymond represented local Somali residents in their purchase of the former Lafayette Elementary School for a new mosque and community center. He was a member of state and national Bar Associations, the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Arbitration Association. From 1969-1973, he served as Vice-Chairman for the regional advisory council of the Governor’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Control.

In 1962, Raymond married Mary Lee Short, of Edina, Minnesota, and they had a daughter, Tracy. They were divorced in 1965.

Raymond married Carol Sue Knutson in 1969 and together they raised Carol’s daughters Reneé and Teresa (Terri). Ray and Carol loved hosting friends and family in their home; Ray’s specialties were escargot and Crêpes Suzette. They enjoyed attending the Minnesota Orchestra and the opera. They travelled extensively, including ski trips out west, March trips to Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as a photo safari in Africa. Raymond also traveled to Argentina, Colombia, and Canada to hunt with friends.

Raymond was a faithful friend, a loving father, and a devoted husband. He loved good scotch, rare prime rib, a tale well told, and a bad joke. He adored his lake front home, where he lived for 44 years with Carol. Built in 1980, it was designed by his father, who had an architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, using rock imported from North Dakota. Ray was a weekly bridge player, and co-owner of Two Island duck hunting club where he spent many happy hours with close friends and his grandson. For many years, he was a regular at the Town Talk Café in downtown Willmar, meeting virtually every morning over coffee to shoot the breeze at the round table in the corner. In recent years, he was a devoted patron of El Tapatio, where the owner supplied him with his favorite hot sauce. Raymond was generous with his family, friends, and community. He will be deeply missed.

Raymond is survived by his wife, Carol; his daughters Teresa Dilley (Michael) of Oak Harbor, WA, Reneé Franklin Ruff, of Willmar, and Tracy Teslow (James Murray) of Cincinnati, OH; grandchildren Kendra (Ruff) Marley (David), of El Paso, TX, and Colin Ruff (Holly Nordeck), Golden, CO; siblings Parker, of Reno, NV, Sandra Retzlaff, of Fargo ND, and James (Paul Olson) of Brooklyn, NY; niece HaeNa Waechter (Edward Mathney), of Brooklyn, NY, and nephews Parker (Barry) Waechter II (M’Lissa), of Los Angeles, CA, and Charles Retzlaff (Lauren Karas), of Silver Spring, MD.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Deborah, and his sister-in-law Vera (Chase) Waechter.

Raymond’s family would like to extend their appreciation to Bethesda Grand and Club Suites in Willmar, and CentraCare Hospice, for taking good care of him in his final months. Per Raymond’s wishes, no services will be held.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Raymond
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Brooklyn Park
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