HELENA — Ray Beasley of Helena, formerly of Missoula, passed from this life on his birthday, Feb. 1, 2018, at age 88. Survived by his wife Jane and their combined family of seven children, 14 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, Ray lived a full and colorful life.
He served as a Winter Survival Expert in the U.S. Army Air Force, was a smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service, and dropped top-secret cargo over Tibet for the CIA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Idaho, and became an industrial sewing specialist for the Forest Service, inventing the individually deployed fire shelter which has saved the lives of wildland firefighters. With his artist wife Jane, he opened a clay business and art gallery in Missoula and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The two went on to open Birds & Beasleys, a gallery/birding store in Helena. A man of many talents, he will be missed both by those who knew him and those who only knew of him.
A funeral service for Ray will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral in Helena.