KIELER, Wis. — It was a windy, rainy night when the Jamestown First Responders and Dickeyville Rescue Squad came to take Ray on the last leg of this journey home. Two ambulance rides, a med-flight helicopter and finally a ride back to Dubuque by his good friend, Pat Leonard — a day he would have truly enjoyed. Ray passed away on the evening of July 29th, 2021, at the age of 74.
A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, at Immaculate Conception Church in Kieler, WI with Rev. Bernie Rott officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors accorded by the VFW Post 6455 of Dickeyville-Kieler and the Iowa Army National Guard.
Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 3rd, 2021, at the Immaculate Conception Parish Center in Kieler where a family rosary will be said at 3:45 p.m. Additional visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Parish Center. Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, Dubuque, Iowa is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at www.leonardfuneralhome.com.
Ray was born in Dubuque on March 15, 1947, the son of Leo and Frances Crippes. He attended Holy Trinity Catholic Grade School, Jefferson Jr High and graduated from Dubuque Senior High in 1965.
As a young teen, he delivered the Des Moines Register and later set pins at Holy Trinity School Bowling Alley. In 1967, he was drafted into the US Army and served as an MP in Korea until his discharge in 1969.
He then started his electrical service career with Universal Electric. His employers saw potential in him and promoted him from stocking the shelves and counter sales to serving the electricians of the Tri-State area. He worked hard, put in long days and was recognized for his customer service abilities by Crescent Electric who hired him in 1999.
In 1972 he married Connie Block and as newlyweds they moved to Kieler, WI. Shortly thereafter, Ray was asked to join the Jamestown Fire Department which he did without hesitation and served on the Fire Department from 1974 to 2018. In 1975 his fellow firefighters elected him as Chief and he served them in this capacity until 2005. He also served on the Grant County Emergency Service Association for 15 of those years.
He had a deep love for the beautiful women in his life; his daughters Laura Hudson and Jill Crippes of Dubuque and Kim (Joe) Schmelz of Belmont, WI. They blessed him with seven wonderful grandchildren including Jimmy Hudson, Jake Hudson, Alex Hudson, Alyssa Hudson, Kaylin Crippes, Lydia Schmelz and Brady Schmelz. What made Grandpa happy was their request for his popcorn, pancakes and a game of cards. He was so proud of each of them.
In addition to his wife, daughters and grandchildren, he is survived by his brother, Robert Crippes and his sister, Rita (David) Birch; and his mother-in-law Geneva Block and brother-in-law, Greg (Jackie) Block.
A Ray “Big Al” memorial fund is being established with proceeds to Immaculate Conception Church, Jamestown Fire Department and First Responders and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Scholarship Fund.