Cheney Free Press -

Raymond P. Whitfield


Long-time Cheney resident Raymond P. Whitfield passed away Saturday, June 21, at Cheney Care Center at age 98.

Born in Big Timber, Mont., Ray moved with his family to Sunnyside, Wash. in 1918.  He grew up in Sunnyside, graduating from Sunnyside High School in 1934.

After working for four years in a local bank, Ray enrolled at Central Washington School of Education and earned a degree in history. While at Central, Ray was a top-ranked tennis player. His love of tennis continued after graduation and he continued playing through much of his adult life.

Ray served as a Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he went back to school on the GI Bill, this time at Stanford University. He earned his doctoral degree at Stanford in educational philosophy. There he met a young Canadian student, Margaret Humphries. They were married in 1947, their marriage lasting 61 years until her death in 2008.

Ray was offered a position as an associate professor at Eastern Washington College of Education in 1949, where he and Margaret made their permanent home. He went on to serve as EWU’s dean of graduate studies for many years. Shortly before his retirement in 1977 he held the position of academic vice president at Eastern.

After retirement Ray and Margaret spent much time traveling, including cruises through the Caribbean, to Alaska and through the Panama Canal. Additional travels took them to Europe, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Turkey during their marriage.

Ray was a charter member of Cheney United Church of Christ and served in various church leadership positions over the years. He was known for his quick wit and was well-loved by the congregation. 

In addition to his wife, Ray was preceded in death by his brothers Herbert and Harold and his sister Bernadine. He is survived by his son Tom (Janice) Whitfield of Cheney, his daughter Marian Whitfield of Cheney, his granddaughters Kristen (Chad) Knox of Cheney, Kimberly (Josh) Quisenberry of Spokane and Kaitlin Whitfield of Whitefish, Mont., and his great-granddaughter Peyton Knox of Cheney.

Details about a memorial service, tentatively planned for the second weekend in August, will be forthcoming in the church news section of the Cheney Free Press. Any memorial gifts or donations in Ray’s name should be sent to Cheney United Church of Christ, 423 N. Sixth St., Cheney, 99004.


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