Justin “Ray” Runice, 94, of Hayward passed away on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at his home.
Justin Raymond Runice was born April 2, 1925, in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, the son of Martin and Mabel (Rein) Runice. He attended school in Viroqua, and then joined the U.S. Army on May 30, 1944, and served during World War II. While in the service Ray earned the World War II Victory Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for Company K 143 Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, Combat Infantry Badge and the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars. Ray was also a recipient of the Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal from the French government. This was an award created by Napoleon Bonaparte and it is the highest honor that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.
Ray was honorably discharged and then returned to Soldiers Grove, where he began a restaurant called Ray’s Café. Ray was joined in marriage to Rosemary Turnmire on March 12, 1947, in Soldiers Grove. He sold the restaurant and then started working as a dairy farmer before working with the U.S. Postal Service in Beloit. He spent 25 years with the postal office and while working there he and Rosemary purchased Boulder Lodge Resort on Ghost Lake near Hayward. In the summer, Ray worked all week at the post office in Beloit and then would spend his weekends at the resort. He retired from the post office in 1985 and continued to work at the resort until 1998. Ray enjoyed reading, researching, writing and being with his family. Some of Ray’s research focused on helping families of his former fellow soldiers who had died in the war. Ray was a member of American Legion Post 220 in Soldiers Grove. He will be remembered as a very patriotic, hardworking, caring and honest person.
Ray is survived by his son, Doug (Lynne) Runice of Hudson; daughter, Linda Briggs of Hayward; nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Rosemary; son, David Lee Runice; and four brothers, Orvin, Melvin, Arnold and Martin.
A memorial service celebrating Ray’s life was held at noon Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Spider Lake Church with Pastor Gary Hilgendorf officiating. A time of gathering with family and friends was held from 11 a.m. until noon at the church. Military honors were accorded by the Wisconsin Military Funeral Honors Program. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery in Hayward.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave. Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601
Online condolences may be shared at www.bratley-nelsconchapels.com.