Raymond E Kelley, better known as Ray or SunRay to some, was born December 1, 1951. He was raised in Sedro-Woolley, Washington at the end of Janicki Road, the homestead of his grandparents, Polish immigrants who moved to Washington in 1920. SunRay’s mother, Wanda was the eldest of their 10 children and the first to learn to speak English at Clear Lake Elementary School.
SunRay too, attended Clear Lake Elementary, where he demonstrated an early talent for art. When SunRay was asked later where he learned to build, he would say his education in construction began in the third grade when his seat near the window gave him a perfect perch to watch the construction of the new gym. He carefully studied and learned the phases of construction that year.
At Sedro-Woolley High School, SunRay took drafting. All of his later design work was done by hand the old school way on a table with a drafting machine. SunRay was a wrestler and football player as well. He went on to Western Washington University on a football scholarship to study sculpture and art.
When SunRay showed a builder some of his building design, he was told to buy a hammer because nobody else would be able to build his designs. SunRay did buy that hammer and combined with his experience growing up with chainsaws and big equipment, he built his first house while in college with the help of his younger brother, Tim who was only in high school at the time.
SunRay married Judy Farrar in 1978 and went on to raise three children with her: Kai Farrar, Rafe Kelley and Kumara Kelley.
SunRay spent time living and studying yoga in India. Later in his career, SunRay was commissioned to build a Temple at Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, California. It was there where he met Bonnie Howard in 2004, who would become his second life partner and a building partner. SunRay and Bonnie together raised his fourth child, Eli Erpenbach and built many homes, treehouses and Gypsy Wagons together.
SunRay crossed Sunday night July 16, 2023 surrounded by family. He had been fighting cancer, but it was a blood clot from a recent surgery hitting his heart that caused his death. The EMTs from Sedro-Woolley and the staff at Skagit Hospital worked valiantly to help him survive the heart attack. We are ever so grateful for the excellent care they gave SunRay! In the end, we all had to say a tearful good bye to this amazing man and artist!
He is survived by four children, Kai, Rafe, Kumara and Eli; seven grandchildren, Gage, Wren, Audrey, Keir, Caitlin, Leo and Marley; two wives, Judy and Bonnie; his brother, Tim and a large tribe of Janicki and Kelley cousins, and countless friends and fans.
SunRay was preceded in death by his three older sisters, Wanda Mary, Joyce and Pola.
Before SunRay crossed, he expressed his desire for a Catholic Funeral in the church where he served as an altar boy, Immaculate Heart of Mary on Ferry Street in Sedro-Woolley, where his Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00, Friday, July 28, 2023 to be followed by a reception at SunRay Shire.
Thank you, SunRay for all the beauty you created. The sparkle in your blue blue eyes will be forever missed by all who loved you.
Blessings to All