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Family-owned Colfax based business celebrates 50 years

COLFAX  —  Ray’s Metal Works is celebrating 50 years as a family-owned business.

Ray’s Metal works, owned by Ray Johnson, was established in 1968 as a Lennox dealership of furnace and air conditioning products in a small shop that now houses Morgen’s Auto Body LLC of Colfax on Cedar Street.

The year 1968 also was the same year the Village of Colfax took over ownership of the Colfax Rescue Squad from the Goodrich Funeral Home. The ambulance service was operated by the Colfax fire department. 

Ray Johnson took on a partner, Vern Kressin, and the name  of the business was changed to Ray and Vern’s Metal Works. As the business grew, it was moved to Main Street to the Ford garage building, which is now the home of Colfax Chevrolet. 

Several years later, Ray and Vern dissolved their partnership, and Ray changed the name back to Ray’s Metal Works and moved the business into a new building in the industrial park.

As Ray began thinking about retiring, he wanted to start downsizing, so in 1995, he moved the business to downtown Colfax, where it is still located today. Ray officially retired in 1995, but he still went to work every day for 20 years after he retired and did what he loved to do — scrap out junk.

Marlene Johnson, Ray’s wife, also was instrumental in running the business. And in addition to many other community involvements, Marlene was a member of the Colfax Rescue Squad.

Ray was involved in the community in a variety of ways as well and served as the fire chief for a number of years.

Marlene served on the Colfax Sesquicentennial Committee in 2014, and she and Ray, as long-time business owners in Colfax, were selected as Grand Marshals for the Sesquicentennial Parade, along Melvina Evenson, who owned and operated Solberg’s Ready-To-Wear in downtown Colfax. 

Marlene Johnson died January 27, 2017, and Ray passed away September 2, 2017, leaving the business for their son, Craig Johnson, and daughter, Pam Mousel, to carry on their legacy, along with Pam’s husband, Tom.