Raymond William Waetjen
February 14, 1939 – July 17, 2022
Rev. Dr. Raymond W. Waetjen was called to his eternal rest on July 17th,
2022, in Vancouver, Washington after 83 years of life. He was a beloved
husband, father, grandfather, friend, and pastor.
Ray was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 14, 1939, to William
Waetjen and Lida Ritz. He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Emilie
Komm, who gave him the foundation of his Christian faith, sense of humor,
and provided unconditional love.
He grew up in East St. Paul, where he was active in Junior Achievement
and enjoyed playing ice hockey, basketball, and lettered in football at
Harding High School.
After attending Concordia Junior College in St. Paul, Ray graduated from
Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1963 with a Bachelor
of Arts in Sociology.
He then went on to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he met Judy
Stresney, a kindergarten teacher at a Lutheran school. They shared a love
for theater, meeting backstage in the play “Gideon” at the Seminary.
On August 14, 1965, Ray and Judy were married in Wheaton, Illinois, prior
to his vicarage at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg, Illinois. Ray
graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1967 and was ordained at Bethlehem
Lutheran Church in St. Paul and accepted his first call to St. Peter in
Evansville, Illinois. After serving at St. Peter through 1971, Ray resigned to
complete a year of Clinical Pastoral Education at Jacksonville State
Hospital in Illinois.
He was then called to serve as a campus pastor at the University of
Nebraska (1972-1977) where Pastor Ray and Judy developed into a
wonderful ministry team. From there he served as Associate Pastor at St.
John’s in Denver, Colorado (1977-1983), and then on to Eugene, Oregon to
serve at the University of Oregon Campus Ministry (1983-1996). His next
call was to Zion Lutheran Church in Corvallis, Oregon (1997-2006) when
he opted for Emeritus status. While serving in Corvallis, Ray and Judy also
ran a bed & breakfast ministry in Lincoln City, Oregon.
He continued his education at Denver Seminary and earned a Doctor of
Ministry in Marriage and Family Counseling in May, 2000.
In his retirement, Ray continued to serve many congregations as vacancy
or interim pastor at St. John in Vancouver, Washington; St. Michael’s in
Portland, Oregon; Prince of Peace in Tacoma, Washington; Christ Lutheran
in Hilo, Hawaii; Beautiful Savior in Anchorage, Alaska; and Prince of Peace
in Battle Ground, Washington.
Ray led with integrity, compassion, and humility. Among Ray’s many gifts,
he was a speaker for conferences and workshops, wrote for
Interconnections, served as an LWML Counselor, and was a resource for
addiction counseling. He was trained in conflict resolution, crisis
intervention, and intentional interim ministry. A very special servant of God,
he shared love, humor, and song wherever he went.
Ray is survived by Judy, his wife of 56 years; their three children: Eric
(Tarah) Waetjen, Anita (Blair) Garland, and Amy (Jason) Drews; beloved
“Papa” to grandchildren Parker Garland, Luke Garland, Carson Drews, and
Hadley Drews; half-brothers Clifford (Mary) Meyer and Donald Meyer; and
many nieces and nephews.
Those wishing to honor Ray’s life may contribute to The Reverend Doctor
Ray and Judy Waetjen Student Support Endowment at Concordia
Seminary St. Louis. Please select Other and note the name when making
your online donation.
Checks may be sent to:
801 Seminary Place
St. Louis, MO 63105
Attn: Randy Fauser
Please note The Reverend Doctor Ray and Judy Waetjen Student
Support Endowment in the memo.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, September 17, at St.
John Lutheran Church in Vancouver, Washington.