Rayburn O. Hanzlik, 98, passed away in Austin, Texas, on Monday, Sept. 4, 2006. He was a 42-year resident of Idyllwild, moving to a retirement home in Austin last January.
Ray was born May 24, 1908 in Wonewoc, Wisc., and moved when a small boy to California, settling with his parents, sister and three brothers in Perris Valley.
He graduated from Perris High School and Riverside Junior College, and then began his career as a building contractor in 1927.
From 1945 until his retirement in 1962, Ray lived in Vista where he ran his construction business, specializing in custom homes in northern San Diego County.
An avid pilot, Ray learned to fly in the early 1920s and continued his keen interest in aviation until 2002 when he sold his last of many aircraft owned over the years and stopped flying. At that time, he was the fifth oldest active pilot in the United States.
During World War II, he was a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy, training hundreds of new pilots and serving as chief flight instructor at the Navy’s Primary Flight School in New Orleans. He retired from the Navy in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant commander.
Ray enjoyed two long marriages. In 1932, he married Ethel Winifred Membery in Riverside with Winifred passing away in 1964. He was married to Marion Claytor Waldo of Westhampton Beach, N.Y., from 1967 until her passing in 1994.
An informal celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8 at 24860 Fern Valley Road.
Ray is survived by three daughters, Marjorie Jane Hanzlik of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ann Hanzlik Hammond of Bozeman, Mont., and Judith H. LaPrade of Las Vegas; two sons, Rayburn D. Hanzlik of Washington, D.C., and Willard M. Hanzlik of Austin, Texas; two stepdaughters, Marion Waldo McChesney of Paulet, Vt., and Susan Waldo Baker of Colts Neck, N.J.; two brothers, Willard M. Hanzlik of Seal Beach and Floyd Hanzlik of Nuevo; and 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Sept. 28 Matter of fact: Judith LaPrade is mentioned in the Sept. 14 issue’s obituary as one of three of Rayburn Hanzlik Sr.’s daughters. According to his son, she is not a daughter, but is a close family friend who was devoted to Mr. Hanzlik during his later years and helped provide him care.
“He often referred to Judy as his ‘adopted daughter’ as an indication of his fondness for her, although she was never legally adopted,” said Rayburn Hanzlik Jr.