Raymond Erwin Welker, 89, entered Heaven to be with his wife, Hilda, on December 14, 2019.

A memorial service to be held at the Dresden United Methodist Church will be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Milo United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 299, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527; Keuka Comfort Care Home, P.O. 107, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527; or Humane Society of Yates County, P.O. Box 12, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527

Ray was born June 30, 1930 at home in Dresden, the son of Erwin and Anna Augusta (Peggy) Welker. Ray served in the Army from 1951 to 1953. During that time he was sent from Fort Dix to Bordeaux, France where served as a cook for the 83rd Engineers, Company B. In 1954 he married his beloved wife and gladly turned over all cooking duties to her. Except for a short time in Penn Yan, Dresden was his home for over 63 years in the white brick house on Main Street. Ray attended the Dresden United Methodist Church and later the Milo United Methodist Church, where he practiced his faith and volunteered wherever it was needed. In Ray’s opinion, he had two left feet but he and Hilda enjoyed many years of square and round dancing, even attending a square dancing convention in Hawaii.

In 1963 he suffered a horrific accident when he fell 30’ off a roof. Ray spent the next three years in and out of hospitals. Always looking on the bright side, Ray decided to make his experience a positive one. He formed, and leaves behind as his legacy, the Dresden United Methodist Church First Aid Closet. It is a place where anyone can borrow medical equipment from canes and crutches to wheelchairs and hospital beds.

Ray had a strong faith and loved listening and ministering to people as they healed or were reaching life’s end. He could truly say, “I know what you are going through.”

With a degree obtained from Freemen’s Business School in 1967 Ray was hired as an Administrative Support Clerk at the Naval Underwater Systems Laboratory in Dresden, where he retired in 1997.

Ray loved being retired with Hilda and having time to watch his grandsons perform in school functions and sports activities. Most nights they strolled “around the block” in Dresden running into friends, family and neighbors. Ray discovered he liked woodworking and learned to build intricate trucks and cars in his workshop. He used to say, “Not bad for a guy with one eye and trembling hands!” He and Hilda attended many local craft shows and the Farmer’s Market on Main Street in Penn Yan with his wooden vehicles and Hilda’s hand sewn stuffed teddy bears.

Ray’s goals in life were to look on the bright side with God at his side and to help people and make them smile. You did a great job, Ray!

Ray is survived by his daughter, Mary Lou (Jack) Hessney of Penn Yan; son, Paul (Eileen) Welker of Clifton Springs; sister, Karen (Dave) Payne of Penn Yan; brother, Dale Welker of Branchport and sister-in-law, Marge Welker of Georgia; grandsons, Bradley, Ryan and Seth Welker; nieces and nephews, Susan (Justin) Niedzialek, Steve (Jennifer) Payne, Mike (Missy) Payne, Jeff (Sandy) Welker, Debbie (Bryon) Sutherland, Brian (Dennis) Welker, and Kim (Phil) Wise. Also remembered are special friends Dave, Ted, Butch, Mary, Bill, Peg, Dee, Janet, and Jeanette.

Ray was pre-deceased by his loving wife Hilda, brother Carroll Welker, sister-in-law Pam Welker and brother-in-law Carl Hansen.

The family wishes to thank Finger Lakes Visiting Nursing Service who allowed Ray stay in his home a little longer; and The Penn Yan Manor who showed the upmost respect and compassion to Ray and his family during his last days. We hope people realize how lucky we are to have such a place in our community.