Posted by: resparish | May 1, 2013

Ray L. Hellwig, 1919 – 2013

Ray-L-HellwigRay L. Hellwig passed away peacefully at home at the age of 94. Born to William and Katherine Hellwig in South Dakota on February 8, 1919, he was the middle son of three children. Ray graduated from Leed High School in 1937.

After graduation, Ray made his way to California, first working in the naval shipyards and then he began a plumbing apprentice program in Monterey. It was here that he met, and later married on July 13, 1942, the love of his life, Joy Rather. At the start of World War II, Ray enlisted in the US Navy and served on a ship in the Pacific. Having attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer, he was honorably discharged at the end of the war and returned to his family in Sunnyvale to begin their life together.

In 1947 he established his business, Ray L. Hellwig Plumbing & Heating Company. Ray began the company with his trusty 1935 blue and white pickup truck, running the business from the family’s kitchen table. Over the years, the company successfully grew to its current location on Laurelwood Road in Santa Clara. In 1969 he partnered with Glen Bollenbacher, and together they made the company a leader in the plumbing and piping industry. Blue and white plumbing trucks can still be spotted across the Bay Area today. Ray continued to serve as the CEO of the company until his passing.

During their retirement, Ray and Joy traveled via motorhome to all fifty states, and throughout much of Mexico and Canada. They wintered for many years in San Carlos Bay, Mexico, sharing a passion for deep-sea fishing. Until four years ago, Ray and Joy spent their summers and falls in Crescent City, where most mornings they could be found fishing from their boat on the Pacific Ocean.

As much as Ray loved to travel, he and Joy were always happy to return home to their family and friends. The Hellwigs were famous for their garage parties and summers at Clear Lake. Ray enjoyed gardening, was quick to lend a hand on home improvement projects and never turned down a game of Pinochle or a box of See’s Candy.

Ray was preceded in death in by his beloved wife of 69 years, Joy Hellwig. He will be lovingly remembered in the hearts of his two daughters, Carol (Ron) Dunn and Cathie (Steven) Jacob, five granddaughters: Darcelle Dunn, Michelle Dunn, Raychelle (John) Fordham, Holland (David) Elkins and Lauren (Ross) Levine, and four great grandchildren: Alexandra and Patrick Fordham, Ryan Dunn Rozenberg and Jacob Elkins, as well as his dear friends, past and present employees and business associates. The family would like to thank Adi Ogle for her loving care of our father.

Ray’s funeral services will include a Rosary Thursday evening, May 2nd, at 7:00 pm at Spangler Mortuary, Sunnyvale, and a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, May 3rd, at 10:00 am here at the Church of the Resurrection. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to your favorite charity.

Please keep Ray and his family in your prayers.