Raymond Gleason, 79

Raymond Gleason

Raymond Glenn Gleason, 79, of Owatonna, ended his battle with Multiple Myeloma Monday, December 11, 2017 at Homestead Hospice House.

He was born October 9, 1938 in Slayton the son of Orren and Rose (Mumby) Gleason. He attended grade school at Currie Public School and graduated from Tracy High School in 1956.  Ray worked for the Ford Motor Company in Minneapolis after graduation and then worked for Pegg Ford and Service Garage in Owatonna from 1958 – 1961.  On February 23, 1958 he married Arlene Olson at Zion Lutheran Church in Tracy.

In 1961, he purchased his father’s automotive business in Currie and operated it until 1981.  He was an entrepreneur with many sideline businesses along with the complete automotive line, some of which included three Minneapolis Star Tribune bulk paper relay routes delivering papers throughout southern Minnesota and South Dakota; sand blasting and paint business; LP gas and commodity delivery service; small appliance repair and national sales distributor of rebuilt antique auto parts.

In 1968, he and Arlene had the vision to build a resort convenience store, which the family operated at the east entrance to Lake Shetek Park.  While in southwestern Minnesota, he was a school board member of Tracy High School, instrumental in building a new high school after the 1968 tornado.

Ray moved his business, Gleason Automotive, to Owatonna in 1981.  The first location was at 1410 East Main and expanded to 505 West North Street in 1997.  He specialized in automatic transmissions, along with complete automotive work.  He was a member of ATRA, which took him to a speaking circuit at their conventions all over the USA.  He had a passion for cars, attending swap meets all over the country.  He was a member of the Owatonna Elks Lodge and the Associated Church.

He sold the business in 2007 and retired to enjoy his hobbies of ancestry compilation, writing poetry, playing cards, games and crossword puzzles.  Ray was a voracious reader and lifelong learner establishing a large library of automotive books.  He and Arlene traveled frequently across the USA. The couple took his trip of a lifetime in 2008, traveling to seven countries in Europe, searching his roots in England.  He was overwhelmed with his visit to Stonehenge.

He is survived by his wife Arlene Gleason of Owatonna; children, Ken (and Vickie) Gleason of Owatonna, Jerilyn (and Monte) Nelson of Apple Valley, Nancy (and Marshall) Johnson of Minnetonka, Kyle (and Mandy) Gleason of St. Paul; grandchildren, Dena (and Josh Newell) Gleason, Amy (and Chris) Tacheny,  Martin Gleason, Maureen Gleason, Justina (and Neil) Knutson, Nathan Nelson, Alex Nelson, Adam (and Amy) Hollerud, Julia Johnson, Michael Johnson, Charlotte Gleason; great grandchildren, Andrew Tacheny, Noah Tacheny and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his baby brother, Roger Gleason; sister, Marlys Gleason; grandson, Andrew Gleason.

Funeral services were held Monday, December 18, 2017 at 10:30am at Associated Church with Pastor Jim D. Oberg officiating.  Interment will be in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Owatonna.  Memorials are preferred to Homestead Hospice House or Associated Church.