Raymond R. "Ray" Talaska, 87, of Ironwood, Mich., died peacefully Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Villa Maria Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hurley.
He was born Jan. 31, 1925, in Ironwood, the son of Stanley and Erna (Blaesing) Talaska, and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1942. He entered the U.S. Navy in April 1943, and was discharged in December 1945, as a signalman second class. He served on Liberty ships and tankers and sailed in convoys in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. He was a member of a Commodore crew which was responsible for communication between the merchant ships and naval escort.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Ray entered Gogebic Junior College, now Gogebic Community College, and received an Associate of Arts degree in 1947. He then enrolled at the University of Michigan where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with honors in 1949 and a Master of Business Administration in 1950. Ray became a Certified Public Accountant in 1953. He returned to Ironwood in 1950 and joined the certified public accounting firm of John D. Morrison and Company of which he became a partner in 1957. He transferred to the firm's office in Hancock, Mich. in 1959 where he was the partner in charge. In 1961 John D. Morrison and Company merged with Ernst and Ernst, now Ernst and Young, and Ray transferred in 1963 to the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. office where he was the manager in charge. In 1965 he transferred to the Marquette, Mich. office as a manager. In 1966 he left Ernst and Ernst, returned to Ironwood, and formed the partnership of Lutwitzi, Talaska and Company with Ray Lutwitzi and Ronald Sharpe. After Ray Lutwitzi left the firm, the name was changed to Talaska and Sharpe. Ray retired in September 1995 after 45 years in public accounting.
Ray was a lifetime member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants where he was a member of the board of directors from 1973 to 1979. He was also a member of Ironwood American Legion Post 5, the Gogebic Country Club, former Ironwood Elks Lodge, Ironwood-Hurley Rotary Club, and the First Presbyterian Church of Ironwood where he served as an Elder for many years. He also served on the board of directors of the Gogebic Community College Foundation and was chairman of the finance committee for a number of years. In 2009 Ray was honored by the Foundation as the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and Outstanding Foundation Board Member.
Ray was a gentle man whose professionalism and integrity were well respected. He was a voice of reason, good sense and kindness, and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
He is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and great-nephews and great-nieces, and was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, Herman in infancy, Edward, Robert and Wilbert.
Out of respect for Ray's wishes, cremation has taken place.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, Jan. 5, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church in Ironwood, with Dr. Jack Fashbaugh, Teaching Elder, officiating.
Committal will take place at the church, where a flag presentation ceremony will be accorded by representatives of the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard.
Luncheon will follow at Tacconelli's in downtown Ironwood.
Private interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood, in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church or Gogebic Community College Foundation.
Condolences may be given to Ray's family online at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ironwood.