American Veteran 04

Referd A. Raley

July 16, 1946 ~ October 22, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Referd Raley Obituary

Referd A. Raley Sr., beloved grandpa and father, passed peacefully at home from lung cancer October 22.

Ref was the epitome of the phrase “be kind” before it became such a thing. A man of few words, he was comfortable with silence. Dad never judged, but he had little tolerance for ignorance or hatred. In fact, his kids were not allowed to say “hate” or “I don’t care” growing up because “you should care about everything”. Though Dad was not a religious church goer, he was very spiritual enjoying every sunrise he saw (he was very seldom awake for any sunsets). His kids never heard him swear. A lover of nature and gardening, he enjoyed raising his kids (and a few others along the way) on his hobby farm with chickens, goats, sheep, etc with a large garden with the love of his life, Sandra Lee Steinhoff whom he was married to for 40 years. 

Ref was born at the family home in Oklahoma on July 16, 1946, the second son of Doc and Myrtle (Spurgeon) Raley. His love of being outside began in his youth and his eyes lit up in his final days talking about fishing trips with his brothers. He graduated from Columbus High School in 1965, where his athletic abilities shown on the football field and wrestling mat. He served our country in the US Navy on the USS Chowanoc during the Vietnam War.  After 30 years of working at Oscar Mayer, he retired and went on to run a country bar in Doylestown called Raley’s Green Frog with his wife. After the sudden death of his son to meningitis, he and Sandy turned their anguish to devotion with the Dustin Raley Memorial Kickball Tourney, which raised funds for Columbia County Dept. of Public Health to administer meningococcal vaccinations free of charge. 

His gentle ways and never-ending supply of patience transitioned him from being the best dad on earth to the best grandpa in the universe.  The recordings of his kids’ youth wrestling matches show excellent footage of the gym’s ceilings, which captures the ability Dad always had of living what he preached “to just be”. We may have no memories of him cheering at our cross country meets or football games, but there is no doubt we knew he was there.  Having had retired young, he was able to be very involved in his grandkids’ lives.  While his kids struggled with trying to find birthday gifts for the man that wanted nothing (except for peanuts!), his grandkids knew that any dandelion they picked would bring pure joy to Grandpa!

He is survived by his children: Todd (Lisa), Tanya, Renee (Bob), Referd Jr., and Dan and his 12 grandchildren: Taylor (Kyle), Mackenzie (Randy), Tiana, Dan, Owen, Hunter, Rachel, Brock, Lucas, Logan, Selena and Dustin; 6 great-grandchildren and siblings Wayne, Wanda, Jerry and Robert. He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Sandy in 2015 and children Kassi, Dustin and infant daughter Sara, as well as siblings Donald and Mary. 

Dad did not wish to have a funeral so his family will hold a private celebration of life. The Raley family would like to thank Agrace Hospice for their care. 

Below is Dad’s favorite poem:


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

— Max Ehrmann

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Referd A. Raley, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Referd A. Raley?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Referd's memory.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Referd A. Raley

© 2023 Grasse Funeral Service. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility