Jan. 1, 1934 – Aug. 7, 2023
WAUNAKEE – Raymond Robert Kuehl, age 89, of Waunakee, WI, passed away at home on Monday, August 7, 2023. He was born on January 1, 1934, to Alex and Margaret Kuehl and was raised on the family farm in Beaver Dam, WI.
Ray Kuehl was a 1952 graduate of Beaver Dam High School, and was a prominent figure in the dairy industry for 60 years. He was a leader for dairy producers in Dodge County, the State of Wisconsin, and around the world. After graduating from high school, Ray worked on his family dairy farm and attended UW-Madison for a year while farming. In 1970, he went to work for the U.S. Holstein-Friesian Cattle Breeders Association in Vermont as a cattle classifier, field representative, and an international marketer of dairy cows. He returned to Wisconsin in 1979, to start his own dairy cattle consulting business. This led him to become a partner of American Genetics, where he served as a farm manager and marketed cow embryos around the world. Due to an agriculture related medical condition, Ray had to make a career change, so he began selling real estate, eventually beginning his own business – Ray Kuehl and Associates Real Estate Company. He also started his own auctioneer business and was a past president of the Wisconsin Auctioneer Association.
As chairman of the Dairy Cattle Committee, Ray was one of the five founding men to bring World Dairy Expo to fruition and was instrumental in the progress of the Expo, which is held annually in Madison, WI. The Expo is now the largest dairy industry exposition in the nation. Ray remained involved in the Expo as an Emeritus Director.
Ray served as president of the Wisconsin Holstein Association. Ray was proud to serve as superintendent of the Wisconsin State Fair for 25 years. He was appointed by Governor Thompson to the World Dairy Center Authority, which found the sites for the new State Department of Agriculture and the World Dairy Center buildings in Madison. Ray was well known as a judge of dairy shows across the United States and had the honor to judge eighteen national shows in sixteen foreign countries. Ray served on numerous local and state dairy and farming organizations and received many awards and recognitions. He also helped thousands of dairy farmers around the world become successful dairy animal producers. Ray was very dedicated to the youth in the dairy cattle industry and was instrumental in raising money to promote agriculture in schools. It is no wonder that he was chosen for leadership roles in nearly all of the organizations to which he belonged. Ray was inducted into the Beaver Dam School District Wall of Fame 2012 for his contribution to dairy. In 2016, Ray was inducted into the National Dairy Shrine as a pioneer in recognition of contributions towards the advancement of the Dairy Industry.
Ray left a legacy of volunteerism with many Waunakee organizations including the Lions Club, Waunafest, Wauktoberfest, the Chamber of Commerce, FFA, FFA Alumni, and Waunakee Super Raffle. He also gave his time to salute other Waunakee area volunteers by keeping the Community Awards Banquet a tradition. In 2014, he earned the American Legion Leadership Award for leadership and volunteerism dedication around the world.
Everyone that knew Ray was always welcomed with a giant smile, a BIG hello and always followed by, “Well how are you doing?” He truly cared, listened and loved his friends and family. He would do anything for anyone at any given time. Ray was an athlete in high school and was a big fan of Wisconsin sports. He enjoyed watching games with his wife, De, – along with his dog, Heidi, on his lap.
Ray is survived by his loving wife of 25 years, DeLeah; and his son, Bruce (Dawn Ham) Kuehl of San Antonio, TX; three granddaughters: Kelsey, Katelyn, and Kristina Kuehl; step-children: Michael Hess and Michelle (Peter) Baltes; step-grandchildren: Dustin, Brandon, and Paige Hess, Carly and Jack Baltes; three sisters: Gertrude Grebel, Arletta Trejo – both of Beaver Dam, WI, and Helen (Paul) Levorson of Oakfield, WI; sisters-in-law: Rose (Hamid) Kasmai, Leila (Tom) Annen, Bonnie (James) Rozman, and Nancy (David) Russell; and more extended family and close friends.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers-in-law: Ralph Trejo and Larry Grebel.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14, 2023, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church 209 South St. in Waunakee, WI. Burial will follow at St. John’s Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass at the church. The funeral will be livestreamed at stjb.org.
A special thanks to Kendra, Ann, and Kris at Agrace Hospice; Dr. David Dingli and his hematology staff; Dr. Mansoor at Mayo Clinic; and both Dr. Noelle Dowling, Dr. Michael Frontiere and the staff at Dean Clinic. Also, thank you to Waunakee Area EMS.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established by the family in Ray’s name at a later date.
Winn-Cress Funeral Home
5785 Hwy Q