Submitted by his daughters
Raymond Alvin Ebel‚ aged 62‚ served the Newaygo Fire District of West Michigan as a fireman for 36 years‚ including 3 years as Chief. After graduating from Newaygo High School‚ he joined the United States Air Force‚ specializing in Electronic Countermeasures on B-36 and B-52 aircraft and attaining the rank of A2C.
Upon returning home‚ Ray worked at the family-owned Ebel Body Shop‚ of which he later became the owner. He joined the Newaygo Fire Department in 1966‚ a second-generation firefighter.
His interests included anything that involved moving parts or flight – hot rods‚ his Harley Davidson motorcycle‚ planes and helicopters‚ to name a few. He received and maintained LZ certification for AeroMed of Grand Rapids‚ MI.
Ray loved taking care of his many flower beds in the summer‚ playing with his dog Screwball‚ and most of all he loved spending time with his two daughters‚ Allison and Barbara. He enjoyed canoeing the Muskegon River with them‚ went on walks and bike rides‚ and attended every soccer game‚ band concert‚ and quiz bowl tournament that came up.
Community involvement was a big part of Ray’s life. An interest in local history combined with a civic-minded attitude to form one very informed person. Ray was instrumental in the planning and funding process for Newaygo’s new fire station‚ finished shortly before his death. He spent countless hours of his personal time revising the plans‚ writing proposals‚ even clearing brush from the construction site.
At one time a Newaygo city council member‚ he kept up to date on local news and community proceedings‚ especially where safety was concerned. It was almost impossible for Ray to take his nightly walk‚ or even go downtown for coffee‚ without running into several people he knew.
Ray was a behind-the-scenes hero. Intelligent‚ practical‚ and hard-working‚ he had an ever-present grin and a wry joke on hand. Always strong during the tough times‚ he shoved aside his own difficulties to get the job done or to help someone else. To all who remember him: may we now give him what he never asked for – a pat on the back.