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.