Raynold “Ray” Wayne Ennis passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at his home on January 18, 2024. He courageously battled Parkinson’s until the age of 73.
Ray was born in Portland, Oregon to Thomas Leon and Virginia Ennis. After Thomas and Virginia divorced, he gained his stepmother, Francis. Ray had the great fortune of being “adopted” into the family of Simpson and Evelyn Day as a young Airman.
At the age of 18 he met Susan Crook who would become his companion for time and all eternity on July 7, 1971, in the Logan, UT Temple. They would begin their married life together at Ogden UT’s Hill Air Force Base, and eventually make their way to Grand Forks Air Force Base in ND where they raised their three children, Heather Louise, Tonilyn “Aja,” and Joshua Ray.
Ray served his country honorably in the US Air Force. He served in Vietnam for the entirety of 1970. During his time in the Air Force, he was in the Security Police Force and ended his career serving in the capacity of Small Arms Instructor. It was in this role that Ray received a letter of commendation for saving one, and possibly two, Special Agents that were on the range firing .38 caliber revolvers. The commendation in part stated, “During the course of fire one of the revolvers misfired and the round of ammunition lodged in the barrel. The agent, not cognizant of the problem, prepared to fire again; however, Sgt. Ennis, having properly diagnosed the situation, reacted immediately and caused the firing to cease. Had another round been fired, the weapon would have undoubtedly exploded, causing serious injury to one and possibly two agents who were firing side by side.”
Although his job as a security policeman and guarding planes containing agent orange would lead to his Parkinson's disease and eventually lead to his death, he was a proud member of the US Armed Forces. He would wear his Vietnam Veteran hat proudly and would beam when strangers would thank him for his service which ended with an honorable discharge after 8 years in 1976.
In October of 1976, Ray, Susan, and Heather moved to Lakewood, Colorado where Ray attended the Colorado School of Trades to become a gunsmith. He began his full-time career as a gunsmith in 1978 when he started Ray’s Gunsmithing Service out of a shop at G&G Sporting Goods in Grand Forks, ND. He would become well known throughout the country as one of the top in the industry.
Ray also became world renowned as a custom knifemaker, creating unique works of highly coveted art and was featured in trade magazines. In 1995, Ray would create a knife line called EnTrek USA which was carried by various companies and sold to people all over the world. He moved his business to Ogden, UT in 2001 as part of a move to take care of Susan’s mother. As his line continued to grow and gain in popularity, it was not uncommon to see EnTrek USA knife owners touting his skill and craftsmanship on various internet knife forums. Many admirers of his work would make certain to attend knife and gun shows in anticipation of seeing him and having a chance to talk to the artist himself.
In October of 2018, as a result of a gastric bypass surgery gone septic, Ray nearly died. He surprised everyone with his recovery over the course of six months and beyond and showed that he truly was “Ray the Great” when he rallied and gave us over 5 more years of dad jokes, dark humor, the occasional knife, intellectual discussions, love, gratitude, hugs, and friendship.
Ray had a testimony of his Savior and served faithfully in various callings with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints including serving as a Branch President of the Devils Lake, ND members and as an early morning Seminary Teacher for two years.
Ray impacted many lives and, along with his own son, Joshua Ray, he had no less than 5 namesakes!
He was preceded in death by all five of his parents; his siblings, Sheila Pemberton and Douglas Ennis and his granddaughter, Mazilyn “Mazzy” Azure Davis. He is survived by his wife, Susan Crook Ennis; his children: Heather (Bill) Klug, Toni (Trent) Tate, and Joshua (Traci) Ennis and his two grandchildren, Israel Davis and Kyle Davis. He is also survived by his siblings: Lonna “Bunny” Alguire, Charlotte (Jerry) Alexander, Brenda (Dan) McKay, Tony Ennis, Laura (Leroy) Aquafresca, Doreen (Steve) Byington, Christine (Ned) Young, Ilene (Sterling) Neblett, Sharon (Max) Blair, Roger (Barbara) Day, Sam (Cindy) Day, and Janette (Richard) Merrill.
Funeral Services, including a Celebration of Life lunch will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 2, at the Ogden Lorin Farr 4th Ward Chapel - 770 15th Street, Ogden, UT. The service will be viewable on Zoom. Login info below. Condolences can be sent to the home address of 1220 S 775 E, Ogden, UT, 84404. In lieu of flowers, donations to help with expenses can be accepted at the home address above or via Susan’s Venmo account @scennis50 (7038 are the last 4 of the phone number if requested by Venmo.)
Zoom info: lfstake.org. 4th ward