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Raymond Gerald Wittak, 90

We have lost our husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, and friend. He was a man of great strength, character, and pride. Clearly, he was one in a million; if not a billion.  passed away on Thursday, March 7, 2019 surrounded by family. Born in Badger, MN to John and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Wittak on September 7, 1928. After losing his father to a tragic accident at the age of 4, Ray had to grow up quickly. At the age of 17, he decided to venture to Alaska where he planned to join his brothers. He stopped in Montana to do temporary work for Pepsi and area ranchers. He enlisted in the Army and served in Germany as an MP and a Generals Escort during the Korean War. While in his two years of service, he would send half of his earnings home, then save the rest. Following his honorable discharge, he headed to Montana, with a renewed determination to reach Alaska. In Redstone he caught the eye of a dashing young woman on a crowded dance floor with her friends. “I’m going to marry that man,” she stated and on June 9, 1957 Ray made Eileen Severson his beautiful bride. His plans for Alaska were forgotten. Ray and Eileen dug their roots in to the Flaxville area. For 62 years, Ray continued to farm alongside his woman, his “Tootie”, as he lovingly called her. They nurtured a home filled with love, laughter, and words of wisdom where he taught his children to work hard, love much and laugh often. He was a dedicated farmer and a true husband of the earth. Ray and Eileen had 4 children: Karla Leibrand of Scobey, Greg Wittak, Connie Wittak both of Flaxville, and Steve (Deanna) Wittak of Billings. Three grandchildren David (Kaylyn) Leibrand of Spokane, WA; Lindsey Wittak, and Jacob Wittak both of Billings, MT. One great granddaughter, Emmalyn Leibrand and another precious great grandchild due in May. Also surviving Ray are two brothers-in-law: John Froshaug of Denver and Vernon (Lorraine) Severson of Great Falls, three sisters in law: Neoma Severson of Watford City, ND, Cheryl Severson of Miles City and Linda Severson of Great Falls, including numerous nieces and nephews and too many special friends to mention. In Heaven, Ray is joining his parents and stepfather George Foldesi, three brothers John and Eugene Wittak, and Robert Foldesi, four sisters Bertha Foldesi, Bernice Penas, Lois Seydel, and Betty Froshaug. As a dedicated man to his community, Ray was in many organizations, including the Zion Church Council, The 750 Club, the Flaxville Cemetery Association, Flaxville Town Council, and HUD Development. He was the Mayor of Flaxville for 17 years. He had passion and love for his community where he was cherished and respected by many. Ray enjoyed hunting with his great friends and family, especially the Hungry Horse Hunters retreat in Kalispell for over 30 years. He would tell stories of these grand hunting trips while sitting around the table, laughing and enjoying a ”royal” drink of crown or two. He loved helping his daughters and wife garden during the fall, especially the tomatoes which he would eat like an apple, always stowing away three or twenty in his lunch. French Toast by Grandpa was a noted breakfast favorite of his grandchildren. Nor would he miss coffee with his neighbors at the farmer’s union, discussing the local gossip. Ray was always up for a good hand of Smear. He loved the camaraderie with friends and family, and all of the laughs that came with it. Giving out the occasional ribbing when he let his “boys” cheat. Ray’s sense of humor always shown through at the perfect moments. When Steve was calling his wife his favorite nickname for her “Weinee.” Eileen said, “Steven, don’t call her that. It’s inappropriate!” To which, Ray replied, “You tell him Tootie!” Most of all Ray loved to give hugs, but not as much as we loved to be hugged by him. The best part were the words he would say as he wrapped his arms around you, “I love you the most.” To a wonderful man and beautiful person, we love you the most too- Ray, Dad, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, Friend

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