Raymond W. "Ray" Zahniser, 88, of Sandusky, passed away early Thursday morning, December 30, 2021, at Firelands Regional Medical Center, Main Campus, Sandusky.
Born on December 18, 1933, in Sandusky, OH the son of Roy Raymond and Helen Kathryn (Sheets) Zahniser. He was a 1951 graduate of Sandusky High School. Ray was a veteran having served honorably in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. It was during his time in the service, when he started scuba diving aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Coral Sea in the Mediterranean Sea. Ray was a Dive Master and was co-founder, with Denver Houser, the Erie County Underwater Recovery Team, which they started in 1953. They also co-founded the first scuba diving club, the Sandusky Underwater Explorers in 1957. Together they made their first recovery of a drowned victim in August 1957 from the Old Woman's Creek, in Huron, OH. From 1963 to 1992, Ray was involved with recoveries on five major airplane crashes in Western Lake Erie and 14 fatalities. For 17 years, they provided a two-man recovery team for Ottawa, Erie, Huron, Sandusky, and Seneca counties, prior to Denver's death in 1974. In 1977, Ray formed a new recovery team within the Erie County Sheriffs Department, before retiring in 1992.
He co-owned and operated the Mischler-Zahniser Insurance Company for many years, before retiring. Over the years, Ray enjoyed attending car and gun shows.
He was a member of the AMVETS Post # 17, the V.F.W. Post # 2529, the Sandusky Orioles Club Nest # 279 and a longtime member of the Sandusky Yacht Club.
Ray is survived by his five children, Lynn, Rae Sue (Ken), Mike, Zee (Barb) and David; five grandchildren, Rachel (Jack) Flynn, Starr Stockton, Pari, Carly and Luke; and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Nancy A. (Ludwig) Zahniser (2020) whom he married on February 28, 1953, at the Norfolk Virginia Naval Air Station.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, from 4-6 pm at the David F. Koch Funeral and Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky. OH. Private family entombment will be held at the Garden Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery, Sandusky.
The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made in his memory to Stein Hospice Service, Inc., 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870 or to the Humane Society of Erie County, 1911 Superior Street, Sandusky, OH 44870.
Your memories and words of comfort may be shared with Ray's family at davidfkoch.com.