March 31, 1964 - December 19, 2016
Ray Fernandez Rubio, of Redmond, Oregon, passed away Monday, December 19, at the Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, with family and friends by his side. Ray battled to come back from a traumatic brain injury suffered during a fall the evening before he was to return to Oregon from a wildland fire assignment. Ultimately, the effects of Ray’s injury were too great to overcome and leave all who loved him with a powerful sense of loss and sadness.
Ray is survived by his wife, Julie; sister, Yvonne; brother, Robert; father, Roberto; and son, Rene. Ray was preceded in death by his mother, Irma; and brother, Rene. Ray spent most of his childhood in Brawley, California, where he will be deeply missed by family and close friends.
Ray was proud to have served in the U.S. Army, eventually becoming a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. After leaving the U.S. Army, Ray worked for the U.S. federal government for more than 25 years, including 22 years as a smokejumper. During his career for the US Forest Service, Ray was admired for his unmatched work ethic and will forever be remembered as a friend to countless smokejumpers and members of the wildland firefighter community.
Ray was the guy who knew how to fix everything with a multi-tool and duck tape. He made everyone else’s problems his problems and helped out any time of day. When Ray saw a problem or work to be done, he attacked the project with all of his force whether it was mopping up a small wilderness wildfire, cutting saw line around a large fire or packing parachutes at the smokejumper base. Ray’s work ethic was legendary and exemplary.
Late at night after a long day on the fireline, if Ray was not working, he was joking. Then his eyes would sparkle in the campfire light and he would start talking about Mrs. Rubio. Ray excelled as a husband too. He spoke of Julie in the highest regard, worrying about her being lonely in his absence, laughing about something funny that she did, wondering what she would cook when he returned and always, always telling us how much he loved her.
There are tentative plans for a Celebration of Life service to be held for family and close friends on January 14, 2016, in Redmond, Oregon. For updates on Celebration of Life services and to connect with others mourning the loss of Ray, please visit the Ray Rubio page at www.caringbridge.org.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made at the Julie Rubio support website found at youcaring.com.