Raymond J Szmanda, of Antigo, died Sunday, May 6, 2018, at his home under the care of LeRoyer Hospice and his family. He was 91 years old. He was born on June 22, 1926, in Milwaukee, a son of Charles and Marie (Bauman) Szmanda. He married Maxine Orgeman on August 18, 1950, at St. John Catholic Church in Antigo. She preceded him in death on November 27, 2000.
He was a graduate of Bayview High School in Milwaukee with the class of 1944.
He was a veteran of WWII having served in the United states Navy from June 2, 1944 to June 29, 1946 in the South Pacific.
Following military service he attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis graduating in 1950.
He worked as an insurance broker for Guardian Life, Northwestern Mutual and Prudential life insurance companies.
Mr. Szamanda enjoyed a long career in radio and television broadcasting. Early in his career he worked at radio stations in Calumet, Michigan, Merrill, Antigo, Wausau and Milwuakee. He accomplished a longtime dream in 1970 by founding Transamerican School of Broadcasting in Wausau where he trained local talent for the airwaves. He also hosted the High Quiz Bowl, a high school academic competition.
For many years he was employed as a free lance television announcer in the Midwest, his longest tenure was as spokesman for Menards stores, retiring in 2002.
He was hired to narrate an audio recording of the King James version of the Bible, an accomplishment that gave him great pride.
Music was his passion. Ray played drums and was a vocalist entertaining shipmates in the Navy, and playing in clubs in Milwaukee, Michigan and Wisconsin. More recently he could be found enjoying performances at Music in the Park and the Volm Theatre. He took piano lessons into his late 80’s and played on his drum set as recently as a few months ago.
He was a member of the National Association of Broadcasters, the Leland-Tollefson Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2653, Antigo, and St. John Catholic Church where he served as a lector for many years.
Survivors include three daughters, Jane Szmanda Zeller and Joe Fittante of Antigo, Mary (Paul) Summ of Appleton, Joan (Tom) Burmeister of Kewaskum; three sons, Charles (Margaret) Szmanda of Boston, MA, Paul (Jeanne) Szmanda of Wausau, Mark (Deborah) Szmanda of Fond du Lac; a daughter-in-law, Susan Szmanda of Wausau; 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife and parents he was preceded in death by a son, Dr. Raymond “Jack” Szmanda, Jr., a sister, Ruth Cinquemani; two brothers, Robert and Charles Szmanda.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. at St John Catholic Church with Rev. Charles Hoffmann officiating. Entombment will take place in Queen of Peace Mausoleum.
Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday at the Bradley Funeral Home and 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday at the funeral home. A parish wake service will be held at 6:30 p.m. also at the funeral home.