The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

"Tribute To A Good Friend" Ray Defenbaugh
3/8/1946 - 1/22/2020

By Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Our special friend, Raymond Defenbaugh, 73, of rural Biggsville's, vacant body was buried Sunday, 02/02/2020.

We who believe in Jesus Christ and the resurrection know Ray's soul has moved on to a perfect place-heaven.

For like The Quill heading says on our front page - "In God We Trust," and most definitely we do know, Ray did trust in God and tried daily to follow the Lord's lead.

He knew where all things came from and that in the end, His Lord would call him home.

His funeral, as he had wanted, was about the Lord, and salvation, for he very much wanted all of us to serve the God who created us, and to have the reward of eternal life in heaven.

When people cling on to this life and fear death, Ray knew they may have no idea of heaven and God's promises and the glory that awaits them if they believe in John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Heaven is to be looked onto with anticipation where there's beautiful music like we've never heard and astonishing colors we've never seen, and a joy and peace that passes all understanding so say those who have had a glimpse of heaven and then came back. They have never felt so welcome and they certainly didn't want to return to earth after experiencing it.

So at the burial Sunday, those with hope in the Lord and believers knew Ray's pain was gone, his feet healed, his sugar intake was no longer a worry, and his cancer was non-existant.

The joy in heaven is like none other, so the funeral, though we mourn and miss Ray, is one of thanksgiving and celebration of his life.

Since Ray's tragic accident at age 17, where he lost his life by electrocution, but came back to life on the way to the morgue, Ray knew God must have had a plan for his life.

He spent his lifetime seeking to fulfill whatever the Lord lead him to do, with the realization he might not have a tomorrow.

So he thanked God for each morning, every meal, and every blessing and lesson, and made the most of each day.

I did not know the Defenbaughs for a long time, but others of you did.

I would send a reporter to cover his stories, his trip to Russia when he felt God called him as a Gideon to go, or other events he was involved in. My reporters would always come back awe-struck and would state, "that was the most amazing and interesting man I have ever met!"

Although Ray would tell his story, he had the uniqueness of making it not all about himself, but making people feel special too.

For instance, when the Burlington Hawk Eye reporter and I were sitting in Big River Resources board room to report on a meeting between CEO Raymond Defenbaugh and Iowa U.S. Representative David Loebsack (D), Raymond simply explained the importance of ethanol to rural communities and to farmers, and for the security of the United States.

Congressman Loebsack listened with interest. Then Ray went over to his office and came out with a box of framed poems of motivational nature. Ray read slowly, each short motivational poem to Congressman Loebsack and then gave the set to him to hang on his office wall. Loebsack said with sincerity, "Thank you. This is the most interesting and moving meeting I have ever had."

Raymond leaves behind big shoes to fill and a legacy for us all to follow. We all would watch him work when he was in pain, keep going when he was tired, attend meetings when he had too much to do, and without excuses or complaints.

He continually worked patiently to educate others, and he motivated others by believing in them and their God given skills to complete the task, therefore gaining a strong team of individuals to join him in making a difference in life.

He motivated people by reminding them of their common goal and working alongside them, so they could all celebrate the successes together. He gave recognition to people for their good job.

There are those who complain about their job or a problem, and there are those who roll up their sleeves and do their job and try to solve problems.

I hope we can learn from Ray's ability to always try to fix things, overcome problems whether it was a grandfather clock that has broken, an old oil furnace, a family of fighting raccoons in the woods, or an issue amongst family or friends.

Ray came from parents who had the strong philosophy that fighting amongst yourselves is non-productive and destructive and not to be tolerated. You must forgive and find a way to work together.

His sister Kathie told how Ray and his older brother had gotten into a fight and did some damage to the bathroom in the process when they were high school age.

Their dad, who the kids respected, made them lay on the kitchen floor with their face down, nose on the floor and with their arms around each other. It was around meal time and the other four siblings had to step over them and it was quite embarassing for the two, but a good lesson.

Ray's daughter, Deb told a similar story her dad had told in many meetings. It was a true story about a family of fighting raccoons in the timber one night outside their home.

The "coons" had awaked Ray one late evening and Ray took his gun, loaded it up with ammunition, and went out in the timber and took care of them all. He had even shot a warning shot but they continued to fight.

Then he woke up his four children and told them the moral to what had just happened. That if that family of raccoons had not been fighting amongst themselves and were getting along, they would still be alive. But instead, they woke up their enemy due to their fighting, and they are all gone.

Everyone remarks how Ray had that gift for inspiring the various ethanol plants and different industries to work together. He would tell that true story of the raccoons and other stories to inspire them to unify and work together.

In the industry, where one company leader might have a dislike for another company, Ray was called upon because board members knew if they couldn't deal with them, Ray had the gift of persuading leaders to look past the differences and to look for that common thread, for the good of the cause they all so deeply believed in.

Deb explained Ray's core values was constant: Faith, Family, Community and in that order.

In each one, she explained, he would have a set focus on his goals, much like keeping in a straight line as you mow your yard. You find a tree or a fixed object to focus on, so you can keep on a straight path and not weave all over the place.

Thus, at the end of your journey, you reach your destination and look back on a job well done. If you get a little off, look ahead at your goals and redirect. ....Faith, Family, Community.

Daughter Deb also explained how Ray had a way of not demanding a job done, but making you want to be a part of what he was doing.

He softly asked her when she was young, "Do you want to share a Pepsi?", rather than, "Go get me a Pepsi," and Deb would hurry to the basement and get the Pepsi, not because she was forced to, but because she had the opportunity to share something with her dad.

Pretty soon after eating some more popcorn he'd smile again and say, "Do you want to share another Pepsi?"

For the most part, most of us focus on every birthday, and on the day of death, but Ray's oldest son Dan shared a poem about how well his dad lived his dash in between and how important that was to him. He often motivated people by reading that poem, How well do you live your dash?.

Another poem that hangs in a big beautiful frame near the Big River Resources Board Room, was purchased by their CEO and leader, Ray Defenbaugh and it graced the front page of his funeral bulletin and depicts the man Ray was.

"Life Is Not A Race"

"Life is not a race-but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say "thank you", "I love you", and "great job" to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you've been given, it is not accidental ~ search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh Often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself ~ plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you've been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment." -Bonnie Mohr

Goodbye dear friend,

We will help watch over your family.

We will focus on Faith, Family, and Community. and

Whatever we do, we'll try to be a good one,

And by following Christ and doing these things,

We will be sure to:

"Catch ya later!"