Ray Hightower, age 76, of Garnett, Kansas, passed away on June 11, 2019, at home surrounded by family. Preceded in death by his parents, Raymond M. Hightower, Sr. and Rose (Pipi) Hightower and his brothers, Albert and Chris Manuwai. He is survived by his spouse, Janis (Main) Hightower; sons, Bill Hightower and wife Carrie; Rick Hightower and wife Suzanne; and Chris Hightower; Seventeen grandchildren; and three great granddaughters.
Today I picked up his flip flops by the door and the heartache that I felt in that simple act was overwhelming because his bright light is forever shining in heaven. Ray is the love of my life, my husband and best friend and at times the biggest pain in my okole (English meaning: rear end). I love him and my life was so enriched for spending the last 31 plus years with him. His smile and charm enlightened everyone he touched. That’s what made him a great salesman. His friends swore he could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo.
As many of you know Ray was a Hapa-Haole (50% Hawaiian on his mother’s side and 50% Indianian on his father’s side). He was very proud of his Hawaiian heritage and in lieu of a funeral service, his ashes will be scattered in the waters of his homeland. All of Ray’s Hawaiian friends and family called him “Billy” but no one ever knew why. Billy will get to ride the surf one more time.
Ray had a very special bond with his father, and that same bond he shared with his oldest son, Bill. Grandson Nicholas said “Regardless of what was going on in my troubled life, you could always make me laugh and relax about it.” Barbara, his former assistant, reminded us that every Friday morning, Ray would blast the song “Bang on the drum all day” just to remind everyone that the work week was coming to the end. Well I played that song for Ray today to remind him that his work on earth is done.
Aloha wau e aloha nei e ike hou wau ia oe
English meaning: Goodbye my darling, I will see you again.
Private services will be held later in Hawaii. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation, 6405 Metcalf Ave. #204, Overland Park, Kansas 66202. You may send your condolences to the family at www.feuerbornfuneral.com.