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Published in the Fort Bragg Advocate News on July 22, 2004.
Ray U. Lane, a native of Fort Bragg, passed away Wednesday, July 7, 2004. Born on May 13, 1908 on Park Street in Fort Bragg, to Gustaf and Hannah Kujala, he was 96. A remembrance service was held on July 12.
Rays given name was Uno Gustaf Kujala. Translated, Kujala means Lane. He worked in the timber industry for 50 years. He went to work in 1924 at the age of 16 for the Union Lumber Company at Camp 35, on the south fork of Ten Mile, as a whistle punk for 40 cents an hour. In his long career in the industry, he worked from Santa Cruz, Calif., all the way to Sitka, Alaska, primarily as a faller. Ray attended Santa Rosa Business College, graduating in 1929. He worked in many of the first layouts in the old growth forest in this area, including the first layout of the north fork of Ten Mile where he hand-felled the biggest tree he ever fell at 20-plus feet across the stump. It took him two days. He worked with many of the first saws that came into the industry. Starting with the drag saw, he used a Hansen, made in Eureka. The first chain saws he used included a Mercury, two-0cylinder, weight about 125 pounds and had a 5-foot bar. Other firsts in his life included owning one of the first Harley-Davidson motorcycles ever sold and riding it to Minnesota and back, all on dirt roads. Over the years, he worked as a Fort Bragg police officer, and also owned the Finnish Coffee Parlor here.
Always health conscious, Ray lifted weights and exercised at night in the logging camps. The men in the camps would joke with him and ask, What’s wrong, Ray, didn’t you get enough exercise on the job? Ray became known as the town wrestler and boxer. When the carnival came to town, theyd always look Ray up to come and wrestle or box their man. They knew Ray would put on a good show.
Ray was anything but ordinary. He had many hobbies surf fishing with a throw-net, bird hunting, guns, dancing and teaching dancing, pool, wrestling, investing, gardening in his back yard, and health and fitness. Try health fitness in a logging camp in the 1930s and 1940s! He appreciated the era he grew up in and lived his life to the fullest with his chin held high, always looking to the bright side, carrying with him many words of wisdom and a sense of humor. He will surely be missed.
He was preceded in death by his wife Frances, brothers, Ano and Alfred, and sister Elsie. He is survived by daughter Susan and son-in-law Vince Doyle; stepdaughter Debbie Lane and eight other stepchildren; grandchildren, James, Jeremy, Christopher, Vinezza and Rachele; nephew and niece, Alan and Diana Kujala and their children, cousins Tahja and Kujalas.
Ray spent the last four years of his life at Sherwood Oaks. The family would like to give a special thanks to the staff there for the care and love they gave Ray.Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society.