Rim Country Loses Community Cornerstone

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Raymond Cline wasn't a Rim Country native, but he only missed it by a couple of years. The longtime resident was only a toddler when his family moved to Pleasant Valley (Young) in 1925. He has been part of the Payson community since 1946.

Cline died Sept. 28, 2006 in Payson. He was born Feb. 9, 1922 to Milton and Mary (Kastler) Cline near Enid, Okla.

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Raymond Milton Cline (1922-2006)

"He said he wished his mother had scooted under the fence into Kansas," joked his wife of 59 years, Pat. "But she wasn't very accommodating."

Cline shared memories of his days in Young with Jayne Peace Pyle for her Rim Review column, "Backtrackin'," in May 2005.

The family made the decision to move to the Rim Country with the flip of a coin.

"When we first arrived in Pleasant Valley, we camped out near Jack McKenzie's house," recalled Cline in his visit with Peace Pyle. "While we were there, Pecos McFadden came by. He knew our Uncle Sam. He visited with us, then he sent Dick Robinson back with a hindquarter of beef for us."

The family traded a Model T for 150 acres and a two-story log house.

"We farmed every inch of that land. Oh gosh, did I hoe weeds," Cline told Peace Pyle.

Cline was known around the Rim Country as a good guitarist and singer, frequently performing at dances and funerals.

In 1937, he played and sang "Gold Mine in the Sky" at Fred Haught's funeral.

"We want to have that at his funeral," said his daughter, Jerrie Tipton.

Cline grew up in Pleasant Valley and went to school in Young. When he was old enough for high school, the family spent time in the Valley. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in May 1939.

Cline served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II, from 1942 to 1945.

After the war, he came to Payson and started a water-well drilling business.

He and Pat (Haught) were married on Aug. 10, 1947.

During his "well drilling" career, Cline drilled more than 1,200 wells within Gila County. Then in 1952, the Clines started the Payson Water Company.

"He put in more than 130 miles of pipe in Payson alone," Pat said.

They sold the business in 1962. They also owned and operated the Spade Ranch of Payson from 1955 to 1959 and the 7A Ranch in Starr (sic, per family) Valley from 1960 to 1998.

Cline was a charter member and officer of the Payson Rotary Club, the Payson Elks Lodge, the Payson Golf and Country Club and the Tonto Cattlegrowers' Association. He was also active in Payson Little Theater.

He was on the Payson School Board for 12 years, on the Payson Hospital Board for five years, served on the Tonto Forest Grazing Advisory Board for 20 years and was chairman of the Arizona Cattlegrowers' Association Public Lands Council.

Cline also ran as an Independent for Gila County Supervisor in 1988.

"He was only about 11 votes short of winning," daughter Jerrie said.

Raymond Cline is survived by his wife, Pat (Haught) Cline; children, Tommie (Ronnie) Martin, Jerrie (Tony) Tipton, Jon (Elizabeth Loney) Cline, and Jacque (John) Griffin; sisters, Bessie Turner of Young and Lucille (Claud) Breeden of Globe; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Cline and Phyllis Cline; brother-in-law, Fred Haught; grandchildren, Sammi Jenkins and Rebecca (Tipton) Hill; Calliandra, John, Bennett and Mollimae Griffin; and great-grandchildren, Filaree Otis, Karlyn Jenkins and Cooper Hill.

A celebration of Mr. Cline's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Payson Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the corner of South Ponderosa and East Aero Drive.

A donation in Mr. Cline's memory may be made to the Payson FFA Agriculture Education Foundation in care of Wendell Stevens, P.O. Box 919, Payson, AZ 85547.

A potluck lunch will follow the memorial celebration at the church. Guestbook at www.messingerpayson.com. Arrangements by Messinger Payson Funeral Home.

-- To reach Teresa McQuerrey call 474-5251 ext. 113 or e-mail tmcquerrey@payson.com.

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