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John Ragen


October 12, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

John Ragen, 77, of Townsend, Montana, passed away peacefully at St. Peter’s Hospital on Oct. 10.

John was born on Dec. 11, 1927, in a log cabin on Ray Creek near Townsend to Walter and Viola Noble Ragen. His early life was spent in the Canton Valley, and he attended Cecelia Hazelton Elementary School and Broadwater County High School.

At age 16, he entered the Merchant Marines and served until the end of World War II. He returned home to Townsend and graduated from high school with the class of 1946. In August of that year he entered the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea until his return home in 1948.

As a young boy, he traveled with his “Uncle Eddy” Ragen throughout the United States racing Thoroughbred horses. In the winter, he would break horses and feed cattle for the Ragen family.

On Dec. 27, 1952, John and Sharley Williams were married at Holy Cross Rectory in Townsend. Their daughter Patti was born in November 1953 and son Dan in October 1954. Soon afterward, John and Sharley moved into their log home on the ranch over the hill from where John was born.

John, Sharley and the kids traveled for years to Thoroughbred racetracks from Spokane to Winnipeg. Later John and Sharley worked together in race offices in Saskatoon and Regina. The last years of John’s career were spent working as a racing official throughout the state for the Montana Racing Commission. Horse racing has been in the family for generations, and John was able to continue that legacy with the people he loved all of his life.

John was a member of American Legion Post # 42, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Horsemen’s Protective Benevolent Association.
John was preceded in death by his parents; sister Mary Agnes Gillespie; and his Uncle Eddy.

He is survived by his wife, Sharley; daughter Patti (Paul) Schwisow of Missoula; son Dan (Marleena) of Seattle; grandchildren Erin and Michael Schwisow and Tyler and Travis Ragen; and many wonderful family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like you to donate to the charity of your choice.

Viewing will be at Connors Mortuary on Friday, Oct. 14, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. A Catholic Mass will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Holy Cross Church in Townsend. Burial will be in the Canton Church Cemetery and a lunch reception will follow at Holy Cross.