It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Raymond (Ray) Kujovich, who died on Sunday, February 26, 2023, in Vancouver, Washington, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was eighty-seven years old. He leaves behind a host of friends and family whom he loved, cherished, protected, supported, mentored, and made laugh a thousand times over and again. Surviving him are the absolute love of his life and wife of nearly 65 years, Rose; his son Kurt; daughters-in-law Sabina Teshler Kujovich and Sharon Kujovich; grandchildren Jamie Bieze (Joey), Sam (Julia), Niko, and Natasha; great-granddaughter Clarke Bieze; and the many unnamed relatives and friends who loved this unassuming self-made man and grieve the great loss of him. He is preceded in death by his son Dan and sister, Elayne.
Ray was born on April 17, 1935, in Gary Indiana. Before he was five years old, his family moved to the Southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, a neighborhood Ray considered “home.” His sister once remarked that during those difficult, hardscrabble years, Ray’s neighborhood friends were “his family.” Testament to that are the many childhood friendships that continued and flourished over the breadth of his long life. So too his passion for sports: Ray was a lifelong competitive athlete, skilled at both playing and coaching team sports. He excelled at basketball from an early age, made headlines in Chicago newspapers for his achievements on the court during citywide all-star playoff tournaments, and continued to play casual games well into his senior years. He was proud of his ability to shoot seventy consecutive free throws on his seventieth birthday and thirty-five consecutive three-point shots at the age seventy-four (Steph Curry before Steph Curry). He was also a keen observer of human behavior and delighted in recounting anecdotes from his personal experiences, always delivering them with perfectly punctuated dry humor and wit.
For forty years, he was the right-hand man of prominent Hammond Indiana attorney Saul Ruman. He was initially hired as an investigator, but his role swiftly expanded into a multi-faceted one as Mr. Ruman became more reliant on Ray’s skills, wisdom, and talents, not the least of which was his ability to quickly analyze, assimilate, and summarize complex cases and craft appropriate legal strategies. Within the practice, he was the “go-to guy” and “go-between” person who often worked behind the scenes. He was a modest, humble, and loyal worker who greatly valued his work and his co-workers, and he went out of his way to support and mentor new hires and young lawyers.
But perhaps more than anything, Ray was a family man. He and wife Rose were a team from day one, and they took on the roles of husband and wife and mom and dad earnestly. As a young father, Ray played happily and competitively with his two sons, whether horsing around, playing sports and games, or betting on the next big thing. In the process, he showed them the joy of hard work and focus and the thrill of besting their dad. He coached organized youth sports teams and casual neighborhood sports events and served on at least one community advisory board. As a Little League leader and organizer, he always made things fun for his teams. In his role as Little League coach, he was an innovator: he had his teams do things never done before in the history of the League. And it paid off in wins. Kids loved him; some even idolized him, no doubt because he appeared to have perfected the art of parenting. He made it look so joyful and easy, infusing expectations, discipline, and structure with more than a modicum of humor, latitude, encouragement, and optimism. His sense of responsibility for raising two healthy, secure, and capable sons was also the manner in which treated other children: with warmth, humor, respect, and his full attention. He was a level-headed father figure to those who needed one and, throughout his life, a genuine influence and inspiration to the people who felt his quiet impact.
A visitation will be held Sunday, March 5, 2023 from 2:00 P.M.- 6 P.M. at Kish Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 6, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. at Kish Funeral Home. Interment will follow immediately after services to Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Crown Point, IN.
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