American Veteran 04


Ray John Switzer

April 5, 1925 ~ April 2, 2009 (age 83)

Ray John Switzer, 83, of Leslie Road, Meadville, died Thursday, April 2, 2009 at Hamot Medical Center, Erie.


He was born in Knox, PA April 5, 1925 a son of Raymond R. and Margaret Berlin Switzer.  He married his high school sweetheart June Shaner in 1947 and she survives.


He was a 1943 graduate and President of his class of White Memorial High School in Knox.  Following graduation, he entered military service and served with the 8th Air Force, 25th Bomb Group, 652nd Bomb Squadron as a B-17 pilot during World War II.  He was stationed in England and flew missions over Europe and North Africa, receiving several commendations for his service, including: Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European/African/Middle East Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Bar, US Army Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Honorable Discharge Pin and Combat Service Medal.


After the war, he received his BS in Education from Clarion State Teachers College in 1951.  He continued his education over the years at Penn State University 1953-1954, Allegheny College 1963-1965, Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts 1967 and BAS Advanced Honors through the National Science Foundation in 1963, 1964 and 1967.


He began his teaching career in St. Petersburg, PA from 1951-1952, then moved to the Brookville Area School District in Sigel, PA from 1952-1957, then taught at Maple Heights High School in Ohio from 1959-1960.  He retired in 1983 from Cambridge Springs High School where he taught science starting in 1961 and also served as an Assistant Principal.


He was a member of the National Education Association, Pennsylvania State Education Association and Trinity Lutheran Church, where he was also a member of the Church Council.  He was the first President of the Meadville Pilots Association and was President of Aviation Explorer Post #205.  His love of flying and his strong faith is reflected in his favorite poem, “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. and his favorite Bible passage, Isaiah 40:6-8.


In his retirement, he enjoyed traveling to spend time with his children, grandchildren, family and friends.  He also enjoyed family genealogical research, Civil War history, golfing, reading and was an avid sports fan.


Ray is survived by his loving wife June of 62 years, additional survivors, include: a son, Richard W. Switzer and his wife Erin of Vancouver, BC; a daughter, Michelle Eppinga and her husband Scott of Lexington, NC; five grandchildren, Bill, Mackenzie and Taylor Switzer all of Vancouver, BC and Matthew Cheely and his wife Christie Sue of Raleigh, NC and Adam Cheely and his wife Erin of Durham, NC; three sister, Doris Snively of Florissant, CO, Virginia Hook and her husband Ron of Knox and Margaret (Peg) Fiscus and her husband Fred of Knox; two brothers, Larry Switzer and his wife Virginia of Knox and Dr. Gary Switzer and his wife Janet of Franklin; two sisters-in-law, Luci Wolf and her husband Lloyd of Pacific Palisades, CA and Nancy Fink and her husband Paul of Carpinteria, CA and several nieces, nephews and cousins.


Calling hours will be Monday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Robert W. Waid Funeral Home, Inc., 581 Chestnut Street, Meadville.


The funeral service will be Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 649 Park Avenue, Meadville with the Rev. Ben Travis, Pastor, officiating.


Burial with military honors will follow at Knox Union Cemetery, Knox, PA.


The family suggests memorials be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 649 Park Avenue, Meadville, PA 16335.

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