Ray Louis Eilts, 96, Hays, died Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at Via Christi Village, Hays.

He was born Aug. 13, 1923, in rural Rush County south of Rush Center, to Ed and Anna (Richter) Eilts. He was a 1942 graduate of La Crosse High School and attended Emporia State University.

He married Dolores Anne Lazuire on Oct. 1, 1966, in Plainville and celebrated nearly 50 years of marriage before she preceded him in death June 1, 2016. He was a farmer, custom harvester, professional driver transporting livestock, bulk fuel, and manufactured housing, and a school bus driver for USD 489. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran. He was in the 1503rd Air Force Base Unit and crew chief of C54.

He was a member of the La Crosse American Legion Post No. 33, Hays American Legion Post No. 173, charter member of the American Legion Post No. 173 Patriot Guard, the Barbershop Harmony Society, blood bank donor, Rush Center Boy Scout Troop No. 447 leader, Gold Wing Touring Association, Plainville Lions Club, and the Walnut City Free Mason Lodge No. 215.

He enjoyed motorcycle riding, airplane flying, dancing, singing in the High Plains Barbershop Chorus. He was a Kansas City Chiefs fan, enjoyed his pet dog, listening to band music and meeting new people.

Survivors include four sons, Leo Eilts and wife, Rose, Kansas City, Kan., Roger Eilts and wife, Deidre, Prairie Village, and Mark Eilts and wife, Chris and Keith Eilts and wife, Renee, all of Hays; two daughters, Rayleen Hufford and husband, Dennis, San Antonio and Kathy Mitchell and husband, Gary Chubb, Lee’s Summit, Mo.;13 grandchildren, David Mitchell and wife, Shabnam, Orlando, Fla., Kyle Eilts and wife, Angela of New Haven, Mo., Phillip L. Mitchell and wife, Lauren, Lawrence, Natalie Moore and husband, Jerry, Wichita, Elise Eilts-Blas and husband, Drew, Topeka, Stephanie Brewster and husband, Brandon, Olathe, Rachel Eilts-Bogert and husband Nate of Kansas City, Mo., Mariah Messer and husband Pete of Minneapolis, MN, Aden Eilts of Kansas City, Kan., Jesse Hufford and wife, Karyl, Fort Lewis, Wash., Justin Hufford and wife, Catherine, San Antonio, Jay David Hufford and wife, Tricia, Austin, Texas and Juleen Sanftner and husband, Roger, San Antonio; 18 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son, Rodney Eilts; a son-in-law, Gerald Mitchell; and two brothers, Walter and Harry Eilts.

A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date when all may attend. Inurnment in Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery, WaKeeney with military honors by Hays American Legion Post No. 173 Patriot Guard and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9076 Honor Guard.

Memorials are suggested to Humane Society of the High Plains or Boy Scout Troop No. 101 of Hays, in care of Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, 1906 Pine, Hays, KS 67601.

Condolences can be sent to the family at www.haysmemorial.com