Raymond Dewitt Wilcox was born to Leo and Edna Wilcox on October 20, 1924. When Raymond was two years old, his mother passed away. A few years later, Leo married Arlene Morehouse who brought her strong faith to the home. Several years later, baby sister Bonnie was born and Raymond took great joy in having his little sister tag along on his many adventures. It was Raymond’s fun natured love of his little sister that attracted his future wife, Ardath.
Raymond graduated from Sunfield High School in 1942. He was busy on the family farm and also loved sports, hunting and all things mechanical. He was active in 4-H and had the Michigan State Fair Grand Champion Cow. As a result, he was offered a college scholarship at Michigan Agricultural College (later MSU). He often remarked that he regretted the decision to pass up that scholarship since he always enjoyed learning something new. Thus began his strong desire for his kids and grandkids to attend college of some kind and also his lifelong love of Michigan State University and Spartan basketball.
In 1947, he married Ardath Hynes, who was the love of his life. Naturally outgoing, he brought adventure into Ardath’s life. Ardath, a natural worrier, even was convinced to ride in his motorcycle sidecar, shoot guns and take fun trips to Lake Michigan. They eventually settled in the Sunfield area. They both trusted Christ as Savior and during this time of life began attending the Sunfield United Methodist Church where they remained lifelong active members with Raymond serving as a Trustee and Chairman of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee. He was very generous in supporting his local church and community, many missions and charities.
Raymond worked alongside his dad on the farm. Both he and Ardath knew the value of hard work and family. Soon after establishing their own farm, Kendall and Lorraine were born. At a young age, Kendall joined his grandpa and dad in the farming operation. The entire family’s involvement in agriculture continues to this day.
Raymond began working for Hough Brothers Construction. He learned to fly and loved to travel to jobs around the United States. He was a devoted father and husband, although he sometimes found the balance of work and family difficult. But every night, like clockwork, he called to check in with the family, keeping up on all the activities at home.
When Raymond turned 65, rather than retire as most, he began his own construction company Specialty Industries, Inc. He loved the challenge of starting a new business and the company blossomed. During these years, the importance of family began to resonate clearly as Raymond and Ardath set aside work schedules to attend almost every activity that their grandchildren were involved with. They became well known as grandma and grandpa to kids in Lakewood, Maple Valley and Portland. Most activities were followed by dinner or ice cream to celebrate successes as well as to ease the blow of losses.
Raymond and Ardath enjoyed good health and independent living for over 90 years. Recently as health issues began to take their toll, the family was assisted by Luminate Home Care. Their loving care allowed Raymond and Ardath the opportunity to enjoy living in their own home. Ardath passed away in May of this year just short of their 72nd anniversary. On October 22, at the age of 95, Raymond also went to be with the Lord. Their strong commitment to their Lord Jesus Christ, and each other, unconditional love for their family, hard work ethic and fun loving spirits will be greatly missed.
Raymond is survived by his son, Kendall (Kerry) Wilcox and his daughter Lorraine (Brian) Benedict, 7 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and brother in-law Lindy (Beth) Hynes. He was preceded in death by his wife Ardath of 71 years, great granddaughter Kyra Winslow, parents Leo and Edna Wilcox, stepmother Arlene Weeks, siblings Bonnie (Roy) Van Houten, infant brother Donald Wilcox, stepbrother Paul Morehouse, and brother in-laws Glendon (Mary) Hynes, and Cecil Hynes.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Sunfield SPYS or the Sunfield United Methodist Monday Night Supper Fund which provides free meals to the community.
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Sunfield Area Sponsors of Programs for Youth (SPY's)
2543 Eaton Hwy., Sunfield MI 48890
SUMC Monday Night Dinners
227 Logan St., Sunfield MI 48890