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Obituary: Ray Brosterhous

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Former Idyllwild resident Ray Brosterhous, 91, died in Hemet Friday, April 27, 2007, after a brief illness.

Born in Butte, N.D., but raised in Bend, Ore., Ray became attracted to the Idyllwild area during the 1950s when he resided in Long Beach. Ray graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1943. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was discharged as a lieutenant junior grade.

He lived in Long Beach for 33 years, first working for the city’s Department of Building and Safety, and later as its first director of community development.

But Ray’s real love was for home construction and remodeling. He had apprenticed as a carpenter before college, and over the years, had become proficient in most of the building trades. For years, he dreamed of building a cabin in Idyllwild, which he said reminded him of his childhood Bend home.

Ray achieved that goal in the 1970s, spending weekends commuting from Long Beach and building his first mountain retreat in Pine Cove. A lover of hard work, Ray used the occasion of his retirement from the City of Long Beach as an opportunity to commence work on his second Idyllwild home. This became his principal residence when he moved there in 1980 with his wife, Earlie Mae.

Once transplanted, Ray became an integral part of the Idyllwild scene, devoting himself not only to his second career as a consulting engineer, but also to community service. Ray became a valued member of the Idyllwild Rotary Club. He served on many of its committees over the years, but Ray’s favorite cause was youth services and education.

For 20 years, Ray served as engineer of record for most Idyllwild-area new home construction and residential additions. His projects numbered in the hundreds. Virtually all architects and builders residing in Idyllwild at the time worked with Ray.

He was known for his easy manner, accessibility and conscientious attention to detail.

Ray also was involved in a number of civic and charitable building projects for which many of his professional services were donated. Such projects included the construction of the current firehouse, and the retrofitting of many Idyllwild Arts buildings, such as Bowman Hall.

Ray also worked on remodeling the Queen of Angels Catholic Church and the Community Presbyterian Church, as well as a number of projects at the Zen Center.

He moved off the Hill in 1989, but continued his involvement in Idyllwild life. Even after the pace of his engineering work slowed, Ray continued to faithfully attend Wednesday morning breakfast meetings of the Rotary Club. He transferred his membership to the Hemet Sunrise Chapter only a few years before his death.

Toward the end of his life, Ray reflected upon his Idyllwild years as being his happiest.

Ray was involved with two significant building projects at the time of his death, both designed by David Lilieholm of Idyllwild. One is a new residence on Doubleview Drive for his daughter, Patricia. The other is an addition to the Marion View Drive residence of his son, Gary.

He is interred at the Riverside National Cemetery.

Ray is survived by Earlie Mae, his wife of 61 years; three sons, Ray (Laura) Brosterhous II, Dennis (Leslie) Brosterhous; Gary (partner Gary Agner) Brosterhous; two daughters, Mary Lou (Thomas) Busby and Patricia (Carl) Gronning; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in his memory be made to the Rotary Foundation, One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201, or to Catholic Charities, 1731 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314.

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