March 2, 1923-April 27, 2020
Born in Beatrice, NE
Resided in Lincoln, NE
Raymond K. Calkins of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away peacefully on April 27, 2020 at the age of 97. The love of his life, Betty, preceded him in death in 2006. Ray was born the third of four children of Ray J. and Ruth Calkins, in Beatrice, Nebraska, on March 2, 1923. Growing up on an acreage during the Great Depression, his high school friends called him “the farmer.” Although his family fared better than most, the depression era left a lasting impression on Ray. It taught him the importance of frugality and savings. So much so that when he retired, his colleagues gave him a stack of legal pads, fully used, because they said, “no one has yet written on the back of the paper, Ray!”
As a student in Beatrice, Ray enjoyed great success in track and field. But in his senior year, he contracted polio. Thankfully, his only lasting side effect was some weakened muscles. But it also delayed his ability to serve in World War II. While waiting, he began his studies at the University of Nebraska, where he was President of the Alpha Tao Omega fraternity. Before beginning law school, he was able to join the Signal Corp, where he decoded Japanese communications as a message center clerk in Arlington, Virginia. There he met his bride-to-be, Betty Baggs, who was also a decoder. They married in March of 1945 and afterwards he served in the Army for eighteen months, receiving his discharge in 1947. While attending law school, Ray and Betty bought their first house in Lincoln and had two daughters, Jean Rayanne in 1947 and Carolyn (K-K) Ruth in1949. Ray graduated from the University of Nebraska Law School in 1950. Then the family moved to Beatrice, where Ray practiced law and sold real estate with his father. Within two years, the family expanded with sons, John Arlington in 1951 and Patrick George in 1952. By the time Ray and Betty had celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary in 1953, they were raising four children under the age of five years!
Shortly thereafter, Ray and family moved to Lincoln to practice law at Stewart and Stewart law firm. After two years, he became a named partner. His law firm is still practicing in Lincoln, under the name Mattson Ricketts. Daughter Elizabeth Edina was born in 1958. Ray began serving as Acting Lancaster County Judge, from 1965 until 1983. Their last child, Lori LuAnn was born in 1966, the same year that their oldest child, Jean Rayanne, married.
Ray retired from his successful law practice in 1988. Ray and Betty spent the first ten years of retirement in Evergreen, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, at an elevation of 7,200 feet. During retirement, Ray kept busy with his beloved hobby of stamp collecting, which he thoroughly enjoyed until the end of his life.
Survivors include: Jean and Bob Miller of Lincoln; Kay and Gordon Stewart of Minneapolis; John and Liz Calkins of Tuscon; Pat and Patty Calkins of Woodbury, Minnesota; Beth and Wayne Brown of Denver; and Lori and Craig Neid of Charleston. Ray and Betty were also loved by their fifteen grandchildren and, at last count, thirteen great-grandchildren.
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