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Ray Walton
A celebration of his life and memorial service will be held at the American Legion Hall, 1001 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Modesto, at 1 p.m. on July 10 for Raymond "Ray" Groff Walton, 80, of Ceres / Modesto. He died June 11, 2010 at the Livermore Veterans Affairs Community Living Center (CLC).

Burial took place at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella.

Born June 7, 1930 in Ardmore, Pa., Ray grew up in a large family. As a boy, he sold peanuts to passers-by from his own peanut stand. When he was 17 Ray left home and joined the Army serving in Korea, where he was in the 73rd Tank Battalion, running ammunition and fuel to the tanks in battle. He was also a military police officer. After his second honorable discharge from the Army Mr. Walton became a canine-handling police officer in San Francisco. He also served as an ambulance attendant in San Bruno, a cab driver in San Francisco, ran his own security business with several employees and had a locksmith business in Ceres until he had a stroke at the age of 51 and had to give it up. Ray volunteered at the Livermore Veterans Hospital and CLC where he put in over 10,000 hours through 26 years as a volunteer. He enjoyed assisting fellow veterans to ensure they received the benefits to which they were entitled. Mr. Walton also was honored to play taps at solemn occasions. Ray's decorations included the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. He was a very active lifetime member of Amvets, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, Korean War Vets, and Disabled American Veterans. He played a role in establishing the War Memorial in Whitmore Park in Ceres.

Mr. Walton lived in Ceres, and then in Modesto for many years until he no longer could care for himself due to his failing health. He was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, and suffered from many cancers. In May 2009 he was relocated to the Livermore CLC where he became friends to many fellow veterans and volunteers. At his request, Pam, was by his side as a friend and she ran errands for him and his fellow residents.

Ray is survived by four children and many grandchildren as well as great-grandchildren.

Remembrances may be sent to any veterans group.

-Ceres Courier/ June 30, 2010