Raymond C. Burhen of Duvall, WA peacefully passed away in his sleep on January 26, 2017. Ray Burhen was born September 9, 1927 in Oklahoma City, OK. On his 13th birthday, his family moved to Seattle where he graduated from Queen Anne High School at the age of 16. He then attended the University of Washington, interrupting his stay at the UW during World World War II to join the United States Navy, where he continued his studies in the Naval Pilot’s program, as well as the Montana State School of Mines and the Colorado School of Mines. Upon receiving his Honorable Discharge from the Navy in 1947, he returned to the University of Washington to finish earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree with emphasis on engineering and zoology. After graduation, he purchased and ran a sawmill in Stillwater, WA (midway between Duvall and Carnation). When the Korean War began, Ray was drafted into the United States Army where he served in the 25th Medical Battalion, running a Dental Aide Station. With his service completed in 1954, he returned to Seattle where he began a 35-year career at Boeing. Working primarily in program planning as an aerospace engineer, he was part of teams that designed, engineered and developed the B-52 Stratofortress, the Hickam and SAGE projects, AWACS radar, Hydrofoil, and the Space Shuttle among others, before retiring from Boeing in 1987. Work of all types was fun for him and in his free time Ray tended up to 200 cattle, cut wood, bailed hay, raised fields of corn, had a vegetable garden and performed the various jobs associated with running an 80-acre farm. He also enjoyed walking in the woods to oversee his various real estate interests. In 1978, he built Duvall’s Depot Village Mobile Home Park virtually by hand, operating it for nearly 35 years before selling in late 2012.
Ray met his beloved and devoted wife Tove in 1949. The college sweethearts went their separate ways before reconnecting years later and marrying in 1986. Together, the Burhens have carved out an eternal legacy in their beloved Duvall and the Snoqualmie Valley with their exemplary work in the community. Ray purchased the Milwaukee Railroad depot in 1954, restoring it in 1980 and donating it to the City of Duvall in 2004, who moved it to the river trail entrance of McCormick Park. Ray and Tove were also influential in the restoration of the historic Dougherty Farmstead as well as the Snoqualmie Valley Senior Center. As part of their tireless involvement with the Duvall Historical Society, they helped publish eight books including “Digging Duvall’s Past” and the “Wagon Wheel” and “Jist Cogitatin’” series. Ray faithfully served on the Duvall Planning Commission for 22 years, 20 of those as Chairman. Ray and Tove were also well known for their continous attendance in the front row at Duvall City Council meetings, and their frequent interactions with the King County Council and Washington State government, making innumerable trips to Olympia to meet with politicians. Thousands of dollars in college scholarships have been funded by the Burhens for Cedarcrest High School students.
Among their many acknowledgements, Ray and Tove Burhen were the first to be awarded Duvall’s “Volunteers of the Year” in 2012. They were Duvall Days Grand Marshals in the city’s centennial year of 2013. To also celebrate the centennial, a “temporary” sign was put in place on 275th street to honor them…which remains today. In 2015, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert joined the cities of Duvall and Carnation to salute them with proclamations praising their volunteerism. And in 2016, in a lasting recognition of their many contributions, the street leading to McCormick Park, the depot, and comfort station was renamed “Northeast Burhen Way.”
Ray was preceded in death by his father Kenneth, his mother Amy, and his brother Bill. In addition to his loving wife Tove, he is also survived by his son, Raymond Jr.
A public memorial will be held Saturday, March 18 at 11am at the Riverview School District Building, 15510 - 1st Ave. NE, Duvall, WA 98019. Metropolitan King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert and Duvall Mayor Will Ibershof are expected to speak. Military honors will be performed by the Everett Naval Station Honor Guard. Light refreshments will follow.