A force of nature from the onset, Ray Koncar was born on a snowy 4th of July to Vajo and Sophia Koncar in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the 5th of thirteen children in a close-knit Serbian family. He passed away unexpectedly on May 24, 2021 in his home. He was 82.
Ray loved sports and while attending Murray High School he played every sport he could, excelling in baseball and football, which lead to a football scholarship at BYU. He coached baseball in his adult years from little league to high school with many winning teams. He loved coaching and the teams loved him.
Ray served honorably in the U.S. Army at Fort Barrow, Fairbanks, Alaska. There he was on the ski patrol and taught arctic survival to officers. While serving, he and twelve other men set a world record for cross country skiing, covering 1,800 miles in 31 days.
Ray married Leann Brinton and they had seven children, their own team. They played baseball Sunday afternoons at a nearby field. Their home welcomed everyone, with kids coming and going constantly. On summer nights the backyard was filled with sleeping bags of their children, cousins, and friends, each of whom Ray adored. Ray and Leann divorced.
Ray was an amazing dad who put his dreams aside to help his children pursue their ambitions. He worked hard to provide for his family, often working two jobs and rarely taking a day off. He worked at Kennecott, Coca-Cola, and Coors before starting his own successful, distribution business.
Ray was proud of his family and happiest when he was with them, and always supported his children and grandchildren in their activities. He was at every family occasion, ready to tell stories and create new memories. Ray delighted his grandchildren with the ‘lucky coins’ he would give them from his left shoe. For good luck, heads-up coins always go in your left shoe, heads-down coins go in your right pocket. Sometimes his left shoe had several dollars’ worth of coins making it difficult for him to walk, but he swore by his system which must work since he was blessed with the riches of grandchildren whom he treasured.
He and his brothers had a unique bond. As young boys they were masters of mischief, and he was the king. Hunting season was a special time for the Koncar men. Ray looked forward to the annual trips with his brothers, sons, grandsons, and nephews and took many big game trophies over the years. He was fortunate enough to take grizzly bears, moose, sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer and more. He loved nothing more than loading more hunting gear than could ever be used and yelling at the Boy (a grandson)! Ray was often his happiest sitting around a campfire with his brothers at deer camp and telling stories (Mostly lies or fabrications). He would spend the summer talking about the new hunting gadgets he was getting, and the winter blaming everyone for stealing, breaking, or losing them. Ray went on his last hunt at 81 years old. Pretty amazing!
Ray loved restoring his vintage Land Rover. He spent many hours working to build a beautiful vehicle from almost nothing.
Ray was a great host and threw wonderful parties to celebrate Serbian Christmas. He preferred to cook the old European way on a Razanj each year for Serbian Christmas, with whole pigs and barons of beef roasting on the spit each January. He loved spending the day with his brothers cooking and celebrating with his siblings, their families and close friends. It was a celebration we all looked forward to.
Ray was tough on the outside and a marshmallow on the inside. If he teased you, gave you a noogie or a double-eye gouge, he loved you. Ray was always there to help family, neighbors, and friends.
Ray married Jill Kloepfer in 1995. They spent time at Strawberry Reservoir on his beloved boat there for more than 30 years. At Strawberry they created countless fun memories such as the Fourth of July lighted boat parade and dinners on the party dock. Ray was a great storyteller and regaled everyone with his fish stories and jokes. He loved and appreciated his Strawberry family.
Ray loved to tell a story of sharing a dog with a neighborhood kid. He took the middle, allowing the neighbor to take care of the front and back of the dog so the neighbor had to feed and clean-up after the dog. He was a master deal maker, according to him it was the best dog he ever owned.
In recent years, Ray and Jill spent winters in Guayabitos, Mexico. In classic Ray style, he quickly made friends with the locals, taking them on fishing trips that they might not be able to afford otherwise. He returned from Mexico this year joking that he got his Covid vaccine from a guy wearing a doctor’s coat and riding a burro.
He is survived by his wife, Jill, brothers - Russ (Jill), Doug (Judy), and Mark (Karen), his children, Mike, Kevin (Tammee), Lauri Taylor (Brad), Vicki Rossi (Tony), Lance, Troy and Kole (Carrie), stepdaughter Annabelle Larsen (Brian), 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by his parents, siblings- Stella Barach, Bernice Barach, Steve Barach, Mary Dahle, Julie Gale, Nick, Devona Costanza, Maynard and Ann.
The family would like to thank everyone for your love and best wishes during this difficult time.
A celebration of Ray’s life will be held Saturday, June 5, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT. Guests are encouraged to use the parking provided on the north side of the building.