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Harry ‘Jack’ Raney (1934-2023)

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Harry “Jack” Raney, 88, born and raised in Ellsworth, Kan., died early in the morning on June 9, 2023. Jack was born on Aug. 15, 1934, to Kenneth William Raney and Ruth Thelma (Grubb) Raney. He was the fifth child of seven (JoAnn, Kenneth “Bud,” Robert “Bob,” Clair, Harry “Jack,” Donald Kay “Don” and Mona). During his childhood years, Jack and his family built a lasting love of the Smoky Hill River in Ellsworth, particularly fishing its banks and waters.

Though born in land-locked Kansas, Jack was a man of the ocean and sea. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1953 and retired from active duty as senior chief petty officer in 1973 after 20 years of service as a radioman. In 1972, Jack received the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal.

After his active duty in the Navy, Jack bought a boat, “The Ranemaker,” and sailed the Atlantic for four years until he tired of the life and outfitted a van to travel the country for a year.
He met Cynthia “Cindy” Ruth Raney in 1977 and settled in Norfolk, Va., where he and Cindy were married April 23, 1977. Jack and Cindy were married 38 years. His daughter Nicole Leigh (Raney) Hollywood was born March 11, 1978.

Jack worked as a repair technician for the Xerox Corporation from 1978 until 1994 when he retired. While working at Xerox, he attended St. Leo College and graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in human resources administration.

Upon his second retirement, Jack took on odd jobs and volunteer opportunities. He discovered that he liked presenting information to others and became a docent. He served on the USS Wisconsin, volunteering more than 100 hours of his time while educating others about the naval service. He also joined the Virginia Moose Association and the South Norfolk Moose Lodge where he attained the position of governor.

Even though Jack lived in Virginia, he returned frequently, if not annually, to Ellsworth. In the late 1990s, Jack and his brother Don bought and furnished a house in Ellsworth they fondly called the Little House on the Prairie, or LHOP. Jack could be found there during his visits, enjoying the porch, practicing shooting, or playing cards.

Jack enjoyed meeting new people, playing cards, supporting local theater companies and watching productions, fishing, shooting, tinkering and learning about new things. He was known to memorize poetry, particularly that of the ocean and sea or fishermen, and loved to spin a yarn for those who were sharing fellowship with him. He shared many a story with family and friends, if he was simply asked.

Jack is predeceased by his sisters JoAnn and Mona, brothers Bud and Don and parents Kenneth and Ruth.

He is survived by his brother Bob, daughter Nicole, son-in-law Sean and granddaughter Annabelle Ruth.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date in Ellsworth. Donations in honor of Jack can be made to a charity of your choice or to Alzheimer’s and dementia research through the Alzheimer’s Foundation at