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Ramon “Ray” Edmund Thomes was born in 1930 in Arlington, Minnesota to Mathilda (Murray) and Edmund Thomes. He attended grade school and two years of high school in Arlington and transferred as a junior to St. John’s Prep School in Collegeville, Minnesota. Ray graduated from St. John’s University followed by two years as a cryptographer and Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He married Barbara Pluth in December of 1954 and moved to Buffalo, MN where he joined the J.W. Thomes Insurance Agency staff. Ray bought the agency from his uncle John Thomes in 1958, and subsequently sold it to his son Greg in 1989. Ray and Greg also co-owned Buffalo Bail Bonds from 1992 to 2017.

Ray remained active throughout the years in PIA (Professional Insurance Agents Association) serving as state president, national board member, national vice-president, and public relations for the Minnesota PIA. He was selected as Minnesota Agent of the Year in 1969 and given a Mr. Chairman award in 1974. He also earned a life membership in the Insurance Firemark Society. Ray received his CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation in the first class offered outside of the state of Texas and served as president of the national CIC board. He received a Chemical Dependency Counselor Certification from Hennepin Community College.

Ray was an active member of Serra International (Catholic lay organization) serving as president of the Wright County Chapter and as Minnesota’s District 7 Governor. He was an active member and former Grand Knight of the St. Francis Knights of Columbus council. He was also very active in the Boy Scout organization and was awarded the Eagle Scout rank. Ray achieved the Boy Scouts’ Order of the Arrow, worked summers as waterfront director and counselor at Camp Clyde, and served as Scout Master of the Buffalo Boy Scouts for several years. He sang with the Bisonaires choral group for many years, recording an album and singing at the Minnesota State Fair. Ray served on several local boards including Buffalo Industrial Development, Inc., Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, Wright County Retirement Center (Park View), and Functional Industries.

Ray enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling, skiing, reading, being with his family, and was a faithful member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo. He is preceded in death by his wife Barbara and son Peter. Ray is survived by his children Greg (Betty), Maple Lake; Cathy Behrens, Sedan; daughter-in-law Verna, Underwood; Judy, Buffalo; Chris (Ann, deceased), Longville; Brian, Buffalo; and by ten grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sister Joan Urbanski, Cloquet; sister-in-law Mary (Pluth) Palmquist, St. Cloud; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Friday, July 1, 2022 from 5:00 to 7:30 PM, with a prayer service at 7:15 PM and Knights of Columbus rosary recited at 7:30 PM, at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. A Mass of the Resurrection will be held Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 11:00 AM, with visitation one hour prior, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo. Burial with Military Rites will be held Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 11:00 AM at St. Francis Cemetery in Buffalo.

Ray’s preferred charitable organization is the District Seven Catholic Serra Club of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis. Memorials may be offered to the “Catholic Serra Club of Wright County” and handed to family or mailed to: 100 Center Drive, Buffalo, MN 55313.

Services will be livestreamed at:

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo, MN. 763-682-1363.

5 Guestbook Entries

  1. Pat Dearing

    Greg, Betty and family – so sorry to see this. I remember Ray from many years ago when he’d come into the restaurant I worked at. He always had a smile and if someone at his table would complain their coffee wasn’t coming fast enough – he’d get up and grab a cup and give to the complainer, not himself. He always waited patiently for us to bring him his order and always thanked us. He was just a kind, kind man. Our heartfelt sympathy to you all.

  2. Mary Doll Schnobrich

    Ray and Barbara were wonderful neighbors to the Doll family in Buffalo. Their friendly smiles were like a hug. Rest In Peace.

  3. Elizabeth Anderson

    So very sad and sorry to see this news. Ray was such a source of smiling, heartfelt encouragement no matter the endeavor. He was my very welcome walking buddy for a while at the gym and I learned more about Buffalo while winding around in circles with him than in all my years traversing the city limits. Always such a welcoming presence, accented with that ever-present gleaming twinkle in his eyes. Big-minded, big-hearted and big everlasting impression.

  4. Elizabeth Anderson

    My deepest condolences to his much treasured and wonderful family. I pray for your continued strength, love, comfort and peace as you navigate the days ahead.

  5. Tom Perrault

    My sympathy goes out to your family on the passing of your father Greg. I wish I could have made it to one of the services to personally express my condolences. Take care.


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