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The Reverend Raymond Bittner passed away peacefully at Pine Shadows Manor in Sylvester, Georgia on Feb. 11, 2024, at the age of 100-1/2 years. Ray was born July 18, 1923 in Coloma to Otto and Florence (Umphrey) Bittner. He graduated from Coloma High School in 1941, after which he attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. During the next four years Ray’s part-time ministry on weekends included a Chinese congregation in Chicago and two small churches near Coloma.

Ray met and married the love of his life, Jeanette, in the summer of 1947 at the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. Over the next 16 years they had five children. After several years of ministry at two Presbyterian churches in Michigan, events led Ray and Jeanette to move to Savannah, Georgia in 1963, where Ray became a Methodist pastor in the South Georgia Conference. Over the next 50 years Ray pastored for thirty different Methodist churches until retiring in 2021 at the age of 98.

Ray was an avid handball player most of his life and won several city tournaments as a single player. His last first-place trophy was in a Savannah city tournament for doubles in 1992 at the age of 69. The competition was for all ages, and most of the participants were much younger men.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, and three siblings: Lyman Bittner, Naoma Morgan, and June Russell.

He is survived by his youngest brother, Larry (Rosanne) Bittner of Coloma, and by his five children: Karen Woods (Donnie Basko), Linda Aultman (Bruce), Calvin Bittner (Renee), Deborah Hiles and Janice Poston (Rick). Ray has 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom live in the Coloma area.

Ray and Jeanette made numerous trips to Coloma over the years to visit family and their many friends in the Coloma/Watervliet area and in Grand Rapids.

A funeral was held for Ray on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 at the Poulan Methodist Church in Georgia. After serving the Lord nearly all his life, Ray finally walks with Him in Heaven.


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