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Obituary: Raymond Gordon Phelps, Greenwood

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Raymond Gordon Phelps

Raymond Gordon Phelps, 92, died at his Greenwood home Monday, April 7, 2014.

Preceding him in death were his father, Raymond LeRoy Phelps; his mother, Violet Emeline (Ford) Phelps; three brothers, Rodney E., David W. and Ernest L.; and two sisters-in-law, Pat and Janie Phelps.

He is survived by his loving wife, Tina; and two sisters-in-law, Shirley and Ruth Phelps.

He took forge shop classes at Arsenal Technical High School and graduated in 1940. He then attended Lincoln School of Arc Welding in Cleveland.

He worked for Consolidated Vultee Aircraft at Lindbergh Field in San Diego, working on B-24 planes until May 1942, when he joined the Navy.

Ray was a World War II veteran, proudly joining and serving in the U.S. Navy in 1942 right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, where his brother Rodney was stationed and received a Purple Heart.

He started at Bunker Hill Naval Air Station and then joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet Air Force Squadron (VC92) assigned to the USS Brenton aircraft carrier (CVE-23), ferrying planes back and forth to Pearl Harbor.

At the war’s end in 1945, Ray took part in bringing home more than 3,000 troops from Tokyo. He was an aviation metalsmith first class.

After the war he built and ran Irvington Welding for Arc and Gas Welding and Forge Work, his own shop on Bonna Avenue in Indianapolis, from 1947 through 1949.

In 1950, he joined Eli Lilly & Co. and was a supervisor of the pipe shop at McCarty Street and then an engineering coordinator in plant and corporate engineering, retiring in December 1986.

He was a past member of Linwood Christian Church, Irvington Blue Lodge No. 666, American Legion Irvington Post No. 38 and Scottish Rite. He also had been a Shriner.

Most recently, he held memberships in Rural Smiths of Mid-America, Indiana Blacksmithing Association and Artist Blacksmith Association of North America and attended St. John’s United Church of Christ when his health permitted.

Ray loved fishing, some golfing and going to flea markets, but his lifelong passion from high school on was blacksmithing. Even in his later years he loved every aspect of blacksmithing.

Ray lived an exemplary life of integrity. He was the perfect husband. He was also a true friend and gentleman. All who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Ray will have many fond memories of him. His word was his bond. He was a joy and honor to be around.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory, Greenwood Chapel, 481 W. Main St. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in Greenwood.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rural Smiths of Mid America, Indiana Blacksmithing Association, in care of the funeral home, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

You are invited to read the obituary online at www.wilsonstpierre.com, where you may sign the guestbook and share a memory for the family.

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