Our husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, friend, and neighbor has left us to go be in the arms of Jesus.
Ray was born on June 29th, 1939 in Fresno, California. He was the last born to Wilson (Bill) and Lorena VanNess Knisley, a bouncing baby boy who captured the heart of all he met in his lifetime. Ray was also the nephew of Raymond L. Knisley, a well-known Lovelock resident, and Nevada Stage Legislator for many years. He had the kindest, most gentle heart of anyone you will ever meet. A quiet man, but when he did decide to open up, he was able to make everyone in the room laugh so hard it hurt. Ray grew up in Fresno in a rural setting with his family on a dairy where they also grew alfalfa and grain crops including corn.
Ray made a lifelong friend while in grammar school named LeRoy Sabbatini. When they weren’t in school or doing farm chores, they were together at one home or the other, building model cars and trucks made from small blocks of balsa wood that they would carve, glue together, and then paint. They then graduated to building model airplanes with gas engines made from raw materials, no kits for those two boys. After this, they built cars and dune buggies. Ray graduated from Central Union High School in Fresno County in 1958. He immediately went to work for a locally owned automobile repair shop as an apprentice mechanic upon the recommendation of his high school mechanic shop teacher.
Perhaps the most life directing thing that happened to Ray at Central High was bumping into a little dark-haired girl with big green eyes, named Barbara Goulart. In 1960, the Knisley family moved their entire dairy operation to Medford, Oregon. Ray and Barbara were married on June 16th, 1960 at Parkside Wedding Chapel in Reno. It was in Medford, Oregon where their first child, Dan was born. Two years later their daughter Denise was born and they then moved to Lovelock where they lived for over 50 years. They lived on Big Meadow Ranch for 13 years where Ray was employed by Brinkerhoff Ranch until 1979. Ray then became self-employed and bought a property in the Lower Valley. He loved farming and being with his family who meant the world to him.
When Ray wasn’t farming, he enjoyed driving his dragster (which he built himself) at Sand Mountain as well as the sand dunes in Winnemucca. He won many trophies for racing his buggy. Ray loved going fishing and camping with his family, as well as his dog which was one of his best friends! He had the biggest heart of any man. Ray was always willing to help others and never said a harsh word.
Ray is preceded in death by his parents Wilson (Bill) and Lorena VanNess Knisley, sister, Laverna Ostergaard, and brother Darwin (Jim) Knisley.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, son Dan (Tracy) and daughter Denise (Curt); his grandchildren Leighton, Wade, Austin, Kent, Mallory, Jenise, Ann; 7 great grandchildren, sister Geneva Knisley Mehling and best friend LeRoy Sabbatini, as well as many nieces and nephews. Ray will greatly be missed.
The family invites you to attend Ray’s burial at Big Meadow Cemetery on October 10th, 2020 at 10:00 am immediately followed by a barbeque catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ at Dan and Tracy Knisley’s house (1005 Carpenter Rd) celebrating Ray.
The family prefers that in lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Alzheimer’s Association or your favorite charity in Ray’s name.
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