Raymond “Ray” D. Gollach

Resided in Escanaba, Michigan
Died October 9th, 2020

Raymond Dorr Gollach, 68, passed away on October 9 at his home, surrounded by his family. It was the final chapter in a nearly 4-year struggle with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Ray was born in Saginaw, Michigan, to Peter Gollach and the former Dorothy Emmerich. At the age of 4 or 5, his family moved to the Gladstone area where his dad ran the gas station in Kipling. He attended All Saints school through 8th grade and then went on to Holy Name, graduating in 1970.

Ray’s college plans were altered when a mince-no-words nun at the University of Detroit suggested that his inability to draw an apple might preclude him from becoming an architect. After then trying a time at MSU, he decided college was not for him. Instead, he followed in his dad’s footsteps and embarked on a 40-year career as a boilermaker. Ray was a proud member of Boilermakers Local #169. After retiring from active boilermaking in 2007, he went back to work a short time later for CR Meyer as a project manager, retiring from there in 2014. Ray was known by his working colleagues as an intelligent, conscientious man and was widely respected by all who knew him.

In 1979, Ray married the former Shirley Cooper and together they had three children. After 15 years in Grand Rapids they returned to Escanaba to raise their family.

Ray was a member of the Escanaba Elks Lodge #354 and could be found enjoying burger nights or a fish fry on a regular basis. He was also a long-time member of the Escanaba County Club, where he enjoyed playing every Tuesday and Friday with his golfing buddies.

Ray was known fondly as an even-tempered man with the ability to think creatively and to tackle almost any kind of project, which he did both around his own home and in helping others. As a young man, Ray had a sense of adventure that included having the most popular vehicles in which he always had multiple passengers, an airplane used to hop around the State (often with a white-knuckled friend), and a travel trailer which loomed large in the stories of adventures on the beaches of Florida.

Ray loved his family above all else and enjoyed seeing his two boys, Andy and Zach, become adults and begin their own careers. Among his fondest memories were the times spent on vacations with his family including a spectacular trip to Hawaii and a bucket-list golfing adventure at Pebble Beach.

Ray was preceded in death by his infant daughter Hilary and his parents, Peter and Dorothy Gollach. He is survived by his wife Shirley and his two sons, Andy and Zach.

The family would like to express its gratitude to the doctor, nurses, and staff of UPHP Hospice for their compassionate care during his final days. Special thanks also to the great friends who never forgot him when disease robbed him of his personality and the ability to enjoy his life as he had.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to charities actively seeking cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.  The family recommends The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research and the Michael J Fox Foundation.  For those that would like to get involved, the family encourages people to volunteer or become caregivers through Community Action or other senior companion programs at local adult care facilities.

Visitation for Ray Gollach will be held on Friday, October 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba. It will be followed immediately by the Elks Memorial Service. A celebration of life will continue at 5 p.m. at the Escanaba Country Club. Friends are reminded to follow current Covid recommendations by wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

13 Tributes to “Raymond “Ray” D. Gollach”

  1. Ray, or Buzz that I knew him as was my uncle. I really didn’t know him but the last few years his wife and children have given me the knowledge of his family and the life he had. I am very grateful that Ray had Shirley in his life. His children’s love was well known in the pictures I seen. The love that Shirley and Ray had was one of a kind. Sending prayers and kind thoughts to Shirley, Andy and Zach.

  2. So sorry for your loss Shirley. I had no idea. May God Bless you through this very hard time. My condolences to the whole family.

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Shirley. I am so sorry to hear about Ray’s illnesses and death. God’s peace and love.

  4. I really enjoyed knowing Ray for most of my life. Some of the best memories were going to their beautiful home on Lake Michigan to swim and have cookouts when I was little. Also, countless rounds of golf with my dad and Ray at the Escanaba Country Club. When I’d come home from military leave, we would always meet up for dinner with Ray and Shirley. Ray was such an awesome guy who was easy to talk to and would always make you feel comfortable. He was really close with my dad, practically family. He will be missed by so many and was taken much too soon.

  5. I always enjoyed Ray’s company during the relatively few times we spent with Ray and Shirley. The memories are like jewels in my life. I love you Shirley and I am very fortunate to have known you and Ray. All my love.

  6. I don’t remember him but im sure i have meet him Im sorry for your loss. My dad was Tom Gollach. I would love to hear from any of ya God Bless. Tammy Gollach. / Berrington

  7. Whenever driving home to Escanaba from Lansing by myself and want to set a personal speed record I think of Ray Gollach making it in 4 hours and 30 minutes. I will never top this and will always remember Ray. I can remember when I was a kid my dad taking me and my brother to watch an American Legion Baseball Game in Mainistique. My uncle Cat was on the Schafer Clowns who were playing Manistique that day. Doug Laviolette played second and Ray was the pitcher. I later got to play softball with Ray for the DeGrand Oilers, again he was the pitcher. My most recent memories of Ray are on the Golf Course. I shared many a trip to Florida with Ray and some others. Always a good time, Ray would always be the driver and did not hesitate accompanying anyone of us to the hamburger joint. One of the last times I saw Ray was at the 2019 Coony Hogan Scramble. He was playing with his two sons. Ray’s illness was starting to get the best of him but he was a trooper and made it through the tournament. I can remember the 17th hole and Ray had stopped driving. The boys both put their drives out of bounds and yelled “dad we need you”. Ray got out of the cart and striped one down the middle. They parred the hole. I look forward to the spirit of Ray Gollach in future gatherings with Zach, Shirley and Andy.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss, Shirley! Thinking of you and praying for you and your family.

  9. Shirley my thoughts and prayers are with you and your boys. God bless you and help you at this difficult time.

  10. Shirley, we are so sorry to hear of Ray’s passing. Sending our love and prayers to you and the boys. Praying that we will see a cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in our lifetime. Let us know if you need anything. Jan & Gary Holland

  11. Shirley and family… I was so sorry to hear of Ray’s passing. My sincere condolences on your loss. He was a kind, and genuinely nice guy and I will remember him fondly.

  12. Sending condolences to Ray’s family. We had some very friendly visits with Ray, his wife, and sister-in-law, Donna, while he was at Bishop Noa Home. I am sure having the ability to have him pass at home was a great comfort to him and the family.

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