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Raymond Bruce Thielbar Jr.

Raymond Bruce Thielbar Jr., 86, of Peoria, IL, formerly of Ely, MN, and Lacon, IL, died on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Born on January 27, 1936, in Sparland, Illinois, to the late Raymond and Martha (Jury) Thielbar, he married Roslyn Braun on January 25, 1957. They raised three children together in Lacon.

Ray “Rayboy” grew up in Lacon with his family. He graduated from Mid County High School in 1954, attended Moody Bible Institute and Eureka College and graduated from the four-year machinist apprentice course at Caterpillar. He served at Caterpillar for over 35 years, including his work at Caterpillar Brazil for 5 1/2 years. Ray and Rose built their Lacon, Illinois, home and their log cabin in northern Minnesota, where they lived in the log cabin for 33 years after retirement.

Ray sang in several quartets and a trio. The Joyfuls and The Mountain Men in Illinois, the Forefathers Quartet in Brazil and a barbershop quartet and a gospel quartet in Minnesota. Ray and Rose published their story, “Rooted in Rocky Soil,” which won an honorable mention in the Northeastern Minnesota book awards in 2019. During his retirement, Ray carved signs for many businesses and homes in Ely, Minnesota.

Ray is survived by his wife, Roselyn of Peoria; sons, Bruce of Lake Arrowhead, California, and Chris of Graham, Washington; daughter, Rebecca (Seth) Roeker of Lacon; grandchildren, Jennifer (Jose) Espino, Christopher (Hiro) Thielbar, Rei Thielbar, Amy (Ted) Drilling and Julie (Allen Looze) McMahan; and great-grandchildren, Atreyu Espino and Jin Thielbar. Ray is also survived by his sisters, Carol (Jack) Oltman of Chillicothe and Julie Tower of Lacon

Funeral services for Ray will be held Jan. 4. Memorials can be made to the Cedar Hills Baptist Church or the North American Bear Center in Ely, MN.

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