Ray Ahlrich, 96, of DeLand, passed away at 1:45 a.m., July 14, 2019 at the Piatt County Nursing Home, Monticello.
Ray was born October 24, 1922 in DeLand the son of Albert and Bertha (Trimby) Ahlrich. He married Mary Olson on June 27, 1948. She passed away May 26, 2013. They have two children, Bonnie Wachter of DeLand and J.C. Ahlrich of Morganton, NC. They also have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Ahlrich is a 1941 graduate of DeLand High School, a 1948 graduate of Illinois State University and received his Master of Education from the University of Illinois in 1952. In 1944 Ray enlisted in the United States Navy and eventually served int the south Pacific as seaplane pilot/navigator. He flew air/sea rescue missions in a PVN Martin Mariner. He earned the rank of Ensign when his service was over.
Ray began his teaching career at DeLand Grade School in 1948. He was sixth grade teacher and principal. In 1951 he moved to Monticello to take a position as eight grade math teacher and basketball coach at Washington Grade School. He served as principal until he retired from Monticello Schools in 1983 after 35 years of teaching.
He officiated basketball for 31 years, usually at large high schools and small college games throughout central Illinois. At one point during his officiating years he helped evaluate Big 10 officials at the Assembly Hall. In 1996 he was installed into the IHSA Hall of Fame for basketball officials.
Ray was an avid gardener in Monticello and DeLand. He also was able to become an expert woodworker after his retirement.
Ray has been a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, attending many games in the stadiums in St. Louis. He has also attended many games at Memorial Stadium or the Assembly Hall cheering the Fighting Illini.
Ray was a life-long member of the United Methodist church, first at DeLand and then in Monticello. He is also a 70-year member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners.
A visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at the Monticello United Methodist Church followed with a Memorial service at 7:00 p.m. and Military Rites with Pastor Kathy Sweet officiating. Interment will be held a later date.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight at landoflincolnhonorflight.org or the Ageless Aviation Museum at agelessaviationdreams.org.