Deanna Ray Ensley, a devoted public servant and advocate for social justice, passed away on May 14 th , 2023, in Grand Rapids, MN. She was born on February 4th, 1955, on Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, although she spent most of her life in the Skagit Valley of Northwest Washington.
Deanna led a life of service and activism, leaving a lasting impact on her community. For over two decades, she served as a park aide and ranger for the Washington State Park System, passionately working to preserve and appreciate the natural wonders of Washington. Her love for nature and dedication to conservation was evident in her exceptional work. After her tenure as a park ranger, Deanna joined the state of Washington as an Industrial Relations agent, dedicating 15 years to ensuring fair and safe working conditions for countless individuals. Her unwavering commitment to justice made her a valued agent in her field. In 2015, Deanna relocated to Minnesota to be closer to her cherished grandchildren. There, she engaged in social activism and championed social justice causes. She was a committed member of the local DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) party, AAUW (American Association of University Women), and Indivisible, tirelessly advocating for positive change. Deanna was also an active member of the Unitarian Church, where her beliefs in inclusivity, compassion, and the inherent worth of every person found a welcoming spiritual home. Her involvement with the Unitarian Church further exemplified her dedication to fostering a just and caring society. During her time in Minnesota, Deanna worked with Orion Homes, providing compassionate adult foster care to those that needed it. Her empathy and kindness touched the lives of those she cared for, making a profound difference in their well-being and the lives of their families. Over the last few years, Deanna also worked part-time for the USFS, which was fitting because the work she did for the USFS resembled her first job with the Washington State Park System. Deanna is preceded in death by her parents (Jerry and Suzanne Ray) and is survived by her brother Swede (Diane) Ray, sister Susan Ray, son Derek (Theresa) Fox, and her grandchildren, Lena and Quinn Fox. Her memory will be cherished by all who were fortunate to have known her. A memorial service to celebrate Deanna's life will be held on Tuesday, June 6 th , from 4 pm to 7 pm at the Pokegama Dam recreation area. Instead of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Deanna's honor to the North Country Trail Association.