Ray Byram, 69, passed away peacefully at home March 22, 2023 from complications of heart disease. A private memorial for family and close friends is planned for this summer.
Ray was born September 20, 1953 in Osaka, Japan. He lived in Japan until 1962 when his mother, Sachi (Wada), and father, Don, were transferred by the US Air Force back to the States. They first settled in Don’s home town of Pearcy, Arkansas where Ray began elementary school and learned to live in rural USA. His grandmother, Ozella Byram, became his best friend, champion, and protector. Ray lived with his grandparents in Arkansas while the Air Force moved Don and Sachi to several different bases in the States. The family was stationed in Florida during Ray’s middle school and early high school years. Don’s final transfer took them to Ellsworth AFB in Box Elder, South Dakota. Ray completed high school at Central High School, graduated in 1972. He lived and worked in Rapid City until enlisting in the US Army in 1976. After his discharge, he returned to Rapid City and lived there until 2016. In 2017, Ray and Pam bought a home in Brandon, South Dakota enabling them to be near their grandchildren in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Ray took his basic Army training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and was then stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado where he served as an Operating Room Specialist. When he returned to Rapid City in 1978, he was employed by Rapid City Regional Hospital as a Surgical Technician. Wanting to become a Registered Nurse, he completed his nursing diploma at Rapid City Regional Hospital School of Nursing in 1986. Ray worked 31 years as a Surgical Nurse and then Supervisor of the Central Processing and Supply Departments for Regional Hospital. He was a perfectionist with patient care and professionally admired by his peers and physicians. He retired in 2015.
Throughout his life Ray was involved with sports either as a player or coach. He was an excellent athlete; highly competitive, and a natural teacher. Ray played football and baseball in school. As an adult he played softball, was on pool and dart leagues, hunted, fanatically fished, and golfed. He was the assistant coach for the girls and boys golf teams at St. Thomas More High School. Ray taught himself to make golf clubs and was a certified golf club maker through Golf Smith. He made customized adaptive clubs for son, Tyler, to meet a special need. He was a self-taught gourmet cook, built computers, gardened, and was a very fun travel partner. No matter where he went, he made it a great adventure.
Ray married Pam (Walker) in 1982. God blessed our marriage with two wonderful children, Megan and Tyler. Ray was an exceptional father and husband. He was devoted to our family and loved us deeply. Ray lived his life looking forward. He had gentle empathy for others, patience of a saint with the vulnerable, knew no strangers, and would give you the shirt off his back. In the past few years, as his health was declining, Ray never gave in to the weakness, pain, and loss. His son called him “A Warrior.” Ray was a good man.
Grateful to have been a part of his life are his wife Pam, daughter Megan (Ryan) Quast, son Tyler, and grandchildren Robert “Robbie” and Azurae “Azzie” Quast. Sisters-in-law Penni (Doug) Flinn, Kristine (Bob) Reger, brother-in-law Kary (Jennifer) Walker and eight nieces and nephews. Uncles Lloyd (Diane) Byram, and Dwight (EJ) Byram.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents Don Byram, Sachi Byram, parents-in-law Tom and Sheila Walker, uncle Travis Byram, beloved grandmother Ozella Byram, and grandmother Katsua Wada.
We thank the Avera Home Hospice and Palliative Care teams for their compassionate dignified care that allowed us quality time with Ray over the past year and in his final days.