Raleigh E. Nayes, 99, of Chippewa Falls, passed away Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Chippewa Manor Nursing Home.
Raleigh was born September 8, 1922 in Cadott, WI to the late Henry and Mary (Hanson) Nayes.
He served in the US Army from 1942-1945. Raleigh was in World War II and fought in Burma as a member of the “Merrill’s Marauders” unit, which specialized in long range jungle warfare operations. Few know about the terrible trials he and his comrades had to endure during their service. Some 3,000 men went into that jungle and only 200 came out. Although he never wanted recognition, Raleigh received awards and honors for his wartime efforts, culminating in the highest possible civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, which was presented to him on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
Raleigh started “A Sentimental Journey” with Betty Frederick after an evening of dancing at Rainbow Gardens in Cadott. He and Betty married on June 28, 1947, at Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls. Family was very important to Raleigh and, together with his bride, they created a beautiful legacy.
Raleigh was an energetic yet laid-back man who knew how to find the fun in everyday life and never missed an opportunity to lovingly tease his friends and family. He was a strong and humble war veteran, a dedicated worker, and trusted provider, but everyone knew that his biggest pride and joy was his wife, Betty. They enjoyed 74 years of marriage together and right until the end he never lost the twinkle in his eye for her.
After the war, Raleigh was employed by several local businesses including St. Regis Paper Mill, Johnson Manufacturing, Chippewa Woolen Mill and the Northern Center, where he retired from on August 1, 1987. He was of the Lutheran faith and a charter member of Christ Lutheran Church. Raleigh was a man of few words with a huge heart and he will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his daughters, Pam (Jack) Murphy and Roxy (John) Harvey; sons, Jim (Jill), Gerry (Diane) and Dan (Gail); 12 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Raleigh was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Betty on July 29, 2021; 6 adult brothers, Marinus, Henry, Ralph, Roy, John and Harold; sister, Loretta Prpish; younger brother, Willard and two siblings in infancy.
The Funeral Service will be Friday, April 29, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 467 E. Colome St, Chippewa Falls, with a visitation beginning at 10:00 AM until the time of the service at church. Rev. Gregory D. Stenzel will be officiating. The interment will be in Prairie View Cemetery, village of Lake Hallie. Military honors will be rendered by the U. S. Army Rangers and the Chippewa Falls Patriot Council.
Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services, Chippewa Falls is serving the family. Please share your memories and condolences online at pedersonvolker.com.