W. Rex Raney was born in Collbran, Colo., Aug. 17, 1921, and made his way to the celestial fishing/hunting grounds April 7, 2018, surrounded by loving family.
Rex grew up in a farming family in both Collbran and Fruita. He graduated from Fruita Union High School in 1939. He began his military work in 1938 as a member of the 157th Infantry Colorado National Guard in charge of Communications. When the Guard mobilized in 1940, they became part of the 45th Thunderbird Division. Rex served as Sergeant-Major, 1st Battalion during active duty. By the time World War II ended for Rex on June 22, 1945, he and his unit had served a record number 511 days actual combat. They also had the honor of liberating the prisoners of Dachau.
Rex came home and attended both Mesa College and the University of Denver (DU). After completing a BA in Accounting at DU, he went to Delta, Colo., in 1948 to teach in the business department for what he thought would be one year. Little did he know he would meet the irresistible school secretary, Betty Mae Sidebottom. They were married July 3, 1949, and had two great kids, Cheryl Ann and Laurence Rex. He went on to complete a Master's in Education at Western State College. During his 34 year career in education, he was a teacher, principal, interim HR Director, and Director of Special Services.
Rex and Betty served the First Baptist Church in Delta in various volunteer capacities for many years. Rex is a 58-year Life Member of the Hotchkiss Elks Lodge #1807, and was an active member of the Delta Kiwanis Club for five decades. He also served in leadership roles in the Retired Educator's Association and the Delta County Democrats.
Retirement for Rex and Betty was centered around family, many travels and cruises, and especially their cabin on Grand Mesa. They lived at the cabin for many summer and fall seasons.
He is survived by: his wife of 68 years, Betty; daughter, Chery (Willie) Gordon; son, Larry (Vernann) Raney; sisters, Ruth Raney and Edith Ellis; grandchildren, Michelle (Gary) Jensen, William Sheffield, Becky (Dr. Tim) Winegard, and Mariah (Chad) McCune; great-grandchildren, Gary II, Alex, Jaxson, and Stone; and great-great-grandchildren, Gary III and Amaro.
Preceded in death by: parents, J. Gurnie and Blanche Raney; sisters, Julia Fry and Mae Raney; brothers, Verne, Al, and Hall Raney; and grandson Larry Sheffield.
A celebration of Rex's life will be held at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 10 a.m. Graveside services will be held at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado that afternoon at 3 p.m.
Per Rex, in lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to the VAMC Grand Junction or HopeWest Hospice. He was professionally served with honor, dignity, and love by both.