Ray W. Klem was born on July 3, 1928, in Opheim, Mont., to George and Mildred Klem. At an early age they moved to Whitefish, Mont., where he participated in numerous sports until his graduation in 1946. He attended Coyne Electrical School in Chicago, Ill., graduating February 1948. The following year he enlisted in the U.S. Army attending basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. From August 1950 through January 1951 he served overseas command FECOM Korea, later serving overseas 1961 through 1963 (24 months) and again 1965 through 1966 (13 months). Ray was involved with the Nike Hercules Missile and launch of the Hawk Missile.
While serving as an M.P. at Camp Hanford WA he met his wife of 56 years, Mildred Rom. Three children were born of this marriage. After 21 years of military service, he retired and moved his family to Billings where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service at Pioneer and later at Centennial Stations until he retired in 1990. During retirement, he enjoyed his lifetime hobby of bowling and doing yard work and helping his family including his mother-in-law. He is survived by his wife Mildred; his children Ronald (Sharon) of Billings, Robert (Mary Lou) of Tucson, Becky (Greg) Meisenheimer of Billings; seven grandchildren; two great grandchildren; two brothers Roy and Lee (Shirley); mother-in-law Alice Mallin; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Don; sister Dorothy and granddaughter Elizabeth.
Ray passed away on Jan. 27, 2012, with his family by his side after a long fight of lung disease. Private inurnment ceremony will be held in Red Lodge prior to the Memorial Service in Billings at Smith West Chapel on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. As a longtime member of the American Legion, military honors will be presented. A reception will follow the service.