Raymond Leo Swenson

Raymond Leo Swenson

Raymond Leo Swenson, 58, of Laurel, passed away August 8th, 2017, surrounded by family and friends. He is now free from his earthly pain. Ray was born on November 17, 1958. around 1 p.m (seven hours ahead of his twin brother) in Red Lodge, Montana to Irma and Paul Swenson.  He lived in Red Lodge for the first six years of his life and then the family moved to Laurel, Mont., where he grew up and attended Laurel schools. Ray started working young as a ranch hand on his grandparents ranch seven miles west of Red Lodge and at his parent's gas station at Rockvale. His railroad career started soon after and led to him becoming an engineer for MRL.  Ray married Jenna Christensen in 1979. They had three children--Casey, Cortney and Kelly.  They later divorced but maintained a wonderful relationship as they raised their children.  Ray later unofficially adopted Vanessa as his daughter too.
Ray had a passion for serving and helping people and with that acquired numerous friends along the way. He was the coffee master at his AA groups. He loved to take his camera on drives and capture unique pictures of rusty tractors, wild horses, and weathered barns. He enjoyed jazz basketball, football, and elk hunting. Ray also took up painting these last few years and incorporated his great sense of humor onto the canvas.
Ray is survived by his children Casey (Keshia) Swenson, Cortney (Amanda) Swenson, Kelly (Paul) Duffield and Vanessa Petrik. Grandchildren surviving are Jordan, Jacob, Melody, Ezra, Brooklynn, Angel and Lauryn. Also surviving are Irma Swenson (mother), Doug and Linda Swenson (brother), Debbie Diercks (sister), Ron Swenson (twin brother) and Cindy and Ron Herman (sister). He has multiple nieces and nephews and other family members. Ray is survived by his girlfriend Sandy Lapke and best friend John Minch. The family would like to thank Sandy and John for all their time and attention these last few months during Ray's illness. Their love for Ray and his family was priceless and allowed Ray to remain in his home. Thank you also to Riverstone Hospice services for multiple hours of invaluable support. Thank you to all his wonderful friends from AA who supported Ray, and whose inspirational stories about how Ray impacted their lives these last nine years of his sobriety, comforted his family at his bedside the last few days of his life.
Ray is preceded in death by Paul Swenson (father), Leonard Diercks (brother-in-law), Joseph and Elizabeth Swenson (paternal grandparents), and Irvin and Margie Muller (maternal grandparents) as well as multiple other cousins, aunts and uncles.
A celebration of his life was held Monday, August 14, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene in Laurel. Of course, COFFEE and goodies were served afterward.

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