Ray Grantham


A celebration of life for 95-year old Ray Grantham of Chadron will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church, 450 Bordeaux Street, Chadron, NE.  

Inurnment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.   

Memorials to the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club, Dawes County 4-H program or the donor’s choice may be sent in care of Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337. 

Online condolences may be left at www.chamberlainchapel.com

Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements for Ray Grantham.

Frederick Raymond (Ray) Grantham was the born on October 20, 1925 in Hot Springs, SD, the only child of Thomas Elam and Ida Elsie (Schmechel) Grantham. He passed away on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Ray attended Flag Butte and Rose Hill rural schools, both in the Deadhorse community, graduated from Chadron High School, and attended Chadron State College for one year before enlisting in the United States Army.

He served in WWII in the 1st Armored Division – tank destroyers in Germany, Austria, and France from September 1944 to October 1946. when he returned to the family farm.

He married Phyllis A. Burkhiser on August 20, 1947. and the couple lived for on a ranch near Pine Ridge, SD, and another ranch in Whitney, NE before joining his parents Elam and Elsie in 1951 on the home place along Deadhorse Creek southwest of Chadron.

Ray and Phyllis were married for 53 years before her passing in October 2000. He continued to live independently until moving into the Pondersoa Villa in Crawford, NE, shortly before his death.

Ray spent his entire life farming and ranching raising cattle, sheep and hogs. He also earned extra income for the farm/ranch by working a few years on the CSC campus helping build the Burkhiser Complex, named for his father-in-law, a professor at the college.

Ray was inducted into the Dawes County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1992 and his family received the Nebraska Pioneer Farm Award sponsored by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation in 2010. It is one of the few family farms with original homestead owners left in Dawes County.

Ray was very proud to serve his country and remained active in the leadership of the American Legion and American Legion Honor Guard. His history of service is recorded in the Library of Congress American Folklore Center in Washington, DC and was part of the WWII history project conducted by Chadron State College.

Recently, he was very proud to receive one of the quilts presented by the Quilts of Valor Foundation honoring his service in WWII.

Ray was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church and Flag Butte Community Corporation. He helped start the Happy Hustler’s 4-H Club along with Robert and Nellie Hawthorne in 1957. The club continues to this day after 64 years with three generations of the family continuing the legacy.

Ray also served on the Dawes County 4-H Council and Dawes County Fair Board. His strong commitment to his faith, pride in his family, and farming/ranching fulfilled his purpose in life.

His hard work ethic, commitment to continuing the family farming/ranching operation, stubbornness, and ‘making do with what he had’ describe him as a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Ray was preceded in death by Phyllis, his wife of 53 years, his parents, and son-in-law Pat Moore.

Ray is survived by three children, Connie Moore of Chadron, Kim (John) Madsen of rural Chadron, and Mark Grantham of Santa Monica, CA; grandchildren, Justin (Carey) Madsen of rural Chadron, Jennifer Madsen Smith of North Platte, Melissa (Bronc) Nicholson of Chadron, Rebecca Watson of Pearland, TX, Julie (Marty) Schommer of Oelrichs, SD, Russell Moore of Chadron, and step-grandchildren, Carey Jo Matthews of Kansas City, MO, Jacob Grantham of AZ.

Ray felt very blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy 13 great-grandchildren – Clay, Cody and Cole Madsen, Jarod and Julie Nicholson, Haley and Kasie Smith, Morgan and Roudy Schommer, William and Lauren Watson, Katelynn and Austin Reece – along with step-great-grandchildren, and many cousins.

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