Raymond J. “Buzz” Chitko

August 19, 1942
December 23, 2022

Raymond J. “Buzz” Chitko, 80, resident of Phelps, Wisconsin, died Friday, December 23, 2022, following an eight-month battle with brain cancer. He was born August 19, 1942, in Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin to the late Benjamin Chitko and the late Anna (Klescewski Chitko) Noha. Ray attended Pembine High School, graduating in 1960. He was active in high school athletics, playing on the basketball and football teams.

Following high school, Ray served in the US Army from 1960 until his honorable discharge in 1963. He married Christine Thompson on May 30, 1969, at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Green Bay.

Ray was employed by Sears Roebuck and Co. in Green Bay for over 26 years selling sewing machines & vacuum cleaners, earning numerous awards of distinction, and breaking various store and district records.

In 1998 Ray and Chris decided to make a permanent move to their home in Phelps, Wisconsin where Ray began a new career working as a table games dealer for Lac Vieux Desert Resort and Casino, now Northern Waters Casino, until his retirement in 2015.

Ray also made many memories in his 80 years of life. He was an outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed hunting and fishing. He fished year-round, whether sitting on a pail on a frozen lake, casting for muskies or chasing trout in a stream.

He followed sports as well and would cheer on the Packers & Brewers and enjoyed watching the NHL. His son, Andrew, played hockey for Ashwaubenon for 12 years which inspired Ray’s passion for the sport. He truly loved watching his son play and made countless lifetime friends within the hockey community over the years.

Ray was an astute investor over the years and enjoyed the daily ups and downs of the stock market ticker tape. It was that same enjoyment he got out of speculating on the one-armed bandits at local casinos where he attempted to further supplement his income.

Ray was also known as an idea guy and was always trying to come up with the next great invention. He came up with many creative concepts that eventually came to market (unfortunately not by him).  Most notably, individualized coffee bags for the single cup drinker & the two-handled, push snow shovel.

He also told the best jokes. And the best ones were the ones so funny to Ray, that he couldn’t even finish telling them because he was laughing too hard to continue. What would always start with a frustrated audience awaiting the laugh-line, inevitably ended with a room roaring with laughter at a joke that never concluded. The punchline became irrelevant.

Ray loved his polka music and was an accordion player for many years and occasionally enjoyed sharing his skills with family and friends. He also taught himself how to play the guitar.

He took great pride in his yard. Between keeping the leaves off the grass, which is an understatement, and snow off the driveway, he kept himself busy every day throughout the year and his yard showed it.

His biggest pride and joy were his children and grandchildren, who you could find him talking about on a regular basis.  He was always proud of their accomplishments and would always be happy to tell you about them.

Ray is survived by his wife Christine and their two children, Jennifer (Tom) Anderson and Andrew (Priya) Chitko; five grandchildren: Taylor (Jake) Johnston; Aaron Process and his friend, Sabrina Van Beek; Alisha Chitko; Karli and Makenzie Anderson; sister, Evelyn Kutta; three sisters-in-law: Susan (Dennis) Laabs; Mary Lachat and JoAnn (Glen) Coleman; three brothers-in-law: David (Linda) Thompson; Jim (JoEllen) Thompson and John Thompson; nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his stepfather, George Noha, a brother, Benjamin “Sonny” Chitko; sisters: Rosie (Louis) Piszor; Stella (Sam) Zambuto and Elaine (Tom) Kozik; and his in-laws, Bernard and Jean Thompson.

Ray’s family would like to say a special thanks to the team of doctors and caregivers that cared for Ray while going through his cancer treatment:  UW Health Systems in Madison, especially the Neurology Dept. & Dr. Mustafa K. Baskaya, MD, Aurora Oncology, Radiation & Chemotherapy, Aspirus Hospital-Eagle River, Odd Fellows Nursing Home and Unity Hospice.  Ray appreciated all of you and often called you all ‘his angels’.

Ray’s family will celebrate his life on Monday, January 16, 2023, at Black Sheep Weddings and Events venue, 3675 Algoma Rd., Town of Scott, from 4:00 -7:00 pm. Military Honors will take place at 7:00 pm to close the evening. In lieu of floral expressions a memorial has been established in his name. Online condolences may be sent to www.prokowall.com.

Celebration of Life
January 16, 2023
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Black Sheep Weddings and Events Venue [map]

Robert J. Walczyk Jr. is serving the family.