Cover photo for Raymond Ralph Weaver's Obituary
Raymond Ralph Weaver Profile Photo
1941 Raymond 2024

Raymond Ralph Weaver

April 18, 1941 — January 23, 2024

RAYMOND RALPH WEAVER

(April 18, 1941 - January 23, 2024)

Raymond Ralph Weaver was born on April 18, 1941 in Missoula, MT. His mother was Lucille Harrison and his father was Darrell Duane Weaver. His father was employed at the LOLO Ranger Station by the US Forest Service. Raymond was the first born twin. His brother Richard entered the world about an hour later. They joined a brother, Gaylord, who was 2 years older.

Raymond moved around a bit as a child. His parents lived in Dillon, MT, and Wenatchee WA. After his dad quit the Forest Service, they bought a farm in Moses Lake, WA. His father's health took a turn for the worse, and they sold the farm to move back to Dillon. Darrell died in 1951. Lucille went to work to support them. A few years later she married Dan Novich, who was a wonderful stepfather to the three brothers. As a young teen, Raymond often went to his uncle's ranch, in the Big Hole Valley near Jackson, to work. This was the start of his lifelong dream - to have a ranch in the valley.

Raymond was an ambitious young man. He delivered milk around Dillon, waking at 4am in the morning. He learned the value of hard honest work, good credit ,making friends and making money work for you. He was never shy about venturing into new areas. He started high school in Dillon at BCHS in 1956. He played football and ran track. He was never without a job though. In high school, he met a girl from the Big Hole, Gloria Else. Gloria was from the Upper North Fork area so their paths hadn't crossed before, despite him working summers at the other end of the valley. They started dating as high school juniors. Gloria and Ray were married shortly after they graduated high school on August 20, 1960, after haying was over of course. Ray got a job with the Bureau of Reclamation as a surveyor's aide. He worked on the construction of the Clark Canyon Dam. Their daughter Dale was born in 1961 and Geraldine followed in 1963. Ray then got sent to Farmington, NM to work on the Navajo Indian Reservation water project in early 1964, where they lived for a year. Ray and Gloria then quit the government and came back to the Big Hole in 1965 to work on the family ranch owned by her parents, Fred and Jennie Else. Gloria had grown up on the ranch with her parents and three sisters. There they had a baby boy, Darrell, in 1966. Ray and Gloria worked on the ranch until 1973. Fred sold the ranch to a nephew and they moved to Wisdom for a short time.

Undaunted, they started a pole cutting business and sold poles to the local ranchers. The work was hard, but they persevered adding a post treating plant and making fence jacks and panels. They started on a 40 acre plot purchased from Fritz Walchly in 1976. This small place soon had cattle on it. At first just a couple milk cows and their heifer calves and bum calves which they got from people who didn't want to raise them. After a few years, they bought about a hundred pregnant cows at auction. They were back in the cattle business. They plowed, planted hay and put in a sprinkler irrigation system (the first in the Big Hole above Fish Trap). Ray would work at anything. He hunted coyotes, trapped beaver and muskrats. He met a man named Bill Vanhoose, who was a fur buyer. Bill taught him the ins and outs of fur buying. One winter Ray and Gloria skinned over 200 coyotes that were killed via helicopter. Ray bought and sold fur in the winter as a sideline and did pretty well! There were several seasons where he bought and sold at least 200 to 300 coyotes and the same number of beavers and other pelts. Ray and Gloria put up hay all over the Big Hole on shares to feed their cattle.

Another interesting sideline that Ray had was building beaver slide derricks around the Big Hole. He constructed a number of wooden ones with the help of Gloria and Darrell. He even built several of steel with the help of Bob Wilke.

After a long run in the post and pole business in 1994, Ray made a deal to buy a section of land on the Lower North Fork Road, and they sold the place west of Wisdom. They purchased and moved the cookhouse from the Swanson ranch to the new place in 1996. First, they had to calve out the cows while living in the not quite finished house moving project. Then, they started to build again. First, they had to build calving sheds, a barn, a shop, fences and other outbuildings. They increased their cow herd and continued to put hay up on shares. For years Ray continued to be the lead mower on the hay crew. He only had to cut the hay on a place once to remember how it was cut out forever. Ray was lucky. He had realized a lifelong dream. He was blessed with a life partner who was an ideal companion with the same aims, ambitions and work ethic.

Ray's children and later grandchildren were taught hard work, iron hard honesty, and integrity. His children started working contract jobs at a very young age. The kids and grandkids worked during haying time and did ranch work around the valley and learned well from Ray and Gloria's work ethic. Ray would have rather cut off an arm than take advantage of anyone. These values were the cornerstone of his life.

In 2001, Ray was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He was told that he had a death sentence that might take 20 years; he lived over 30 years. He took it as well as anyone could and carried on. He helped Gloria and his children as much as he could for as long as he was able. His struggles are over now.

He is survived by his wife Gloria, his children - Daughter Dale Trefren, grandchildren Kristen Trefren, Jennie Boulerice (Jesse), Jeff Trefren (Katy), great grandchildren Hunter Trefren, Raymond DeFrance, Ryker Clausen, Eric DeFrance, Lucille DeFrance and fur babies, Daughter - Gerri Weaver and granddaughter Brianne Coon. Son - Darrell Weaver (Michelle) and his daughters Esmae Weaver, Sidney Shepard, Annelise Shepard and grandson Lennox Duck and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lucille, Darrell and Dan and brothers Richard and Gaylord and granddaughter Kaydee Jo Coon.

Raymond Weaver was a man of honesty, integrity with a love of life. He held the respect of all who knew him and will be missed.

Ray has been cremated. A celebration of life will be held this spring. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings, MT.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Raymond Ralph Weaver, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 29, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Picnic to follow Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 29, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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