Asp, Raymond John June 19, 1928 - January 7, 2024 Raymond John (Ray) Asp – A Life Well Lived. Ray died peacefully on January 7, 2024 at the age of 95 1/2 . Ray was a fun-loving, hard-working, dedicated, loyal, unbelievably supportive, respectful, confident, but humble man. He was born in Mpls to Harold Richard Asp and Agnes Osmonson Asp, a small businessman and homemaker, and grew up in the Camden area of North Mpls. Ray attended Patrick Henry High School where he was a varsity football, basketball, and baseball star, playing on its 1945 Minnesota State Basketball Championship Team. He was also the 1946 class president. After high school Ray enrolled at Carleton College in Northfield, MN where he had a distinguished athletic career playing 4 years of football and baseball for the Knights. He was an all-conference quarterback as a junior and senior, captaining the team as a junior. Ray was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and invited to camp by the Chicago Bears. Instead of trying out for either professional sport, he chose to begin a business career with the George A. Hormel Company. In 1982 Ray was elected into Carleton's Athletic Hall of Fame. He and wife Meem were lifelong supporters of Carleton. Ray's earned a degree in Geography, but the most valuable acquisition he left Carleton with was the love of Marian (Meem) Wahlquist. This was the beginning of a 72-year great American love story; football star/captain and homecoming queen (Carleton 1948). After graduating in June 1950 he entered into the Hormel management training program. Soon after, he was drafted into the US Army. Ray and Meem married on April 5, 1951 during her senior year. Upon his discharge in 1952 Ray returned to Hormel where he and Meem set up household in Austin, where Hormel is headquartered. Ray rose up through the management ranks in the Prepared Foods Group to eventually become the Executive Vice President of the company. In 1967 he led newly formed Hormel International, traveling the globe as President developing the business. Hormel now has a presence in 80 countries. In 1986 Ray retired as a career-long, loyal and dedicated Hormel employee. He continued in business for several more years consulting in New Zealand, England, and South Africa. Ray and Meem had four children, Stephen Harold (1953), Margaret (Peggy) Gyda (1954), Janet Rae (1957), and Thomas George (1961). Having died in a tragic automobile accident a week before her 21st birthday, daughter Peggy is buried in Austin. Ray and Meem loved traveling and enjoyed many international trips, but their Hayward, Wisconsin lake home was their heaven on earth. They lived there in the summer and brought the entire family together there every year. Their time together on Round Lake is a highlight for every member of the family! Throughout their lives Ray and Meem were generous donors to church, Carleton, the YMCA, and other notable organizations. In his late '80's Ray became Meem's caregiver as she progressively became less ambulatory. It was touching to see their love as they walked together holding hands. When Meem died in August 2020, Ray continued his active lifestyle; the lake was still his favorite place to be whenever possible. In late December, Ray gave his final blessing of love and appreciation to his family. All were there in person or via Zoom, and each took the opportunity to express the love, gratitude, respect, and admiration they had for him. Ray passed away peacefully at NC Little Hospice on January 7th. He will be deeply missed by his three children, nine grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

Published on February 18, 2024