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Realityland's David Koenig

Club 55 Loses Ray VanDeWarker

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Ray VanDeWarker, the second to the last “Club 55er” to retire from Disneyland, passed away last night at the age of 79.

He retired in 1996; Ray’s best friend from high school, Bob Penfield, who was hired by Disneyland into Operations at the same time, days before the park opened, became the last of the originals to retire a year later.

Ray was foreman of the Indian War Canoes in 1963, when he and Penfield dreamed up the idea of the first cast member canoe race. Ray also earned the nickname “Catfish Jones” after appearing as a keel boat operator in a Mickey Mouse Club episode and was serving as manager of key control in the security division when he retired.

VanDeWarker’s passing leaves an even one dozen survivors in the exclusive Club 55 (those who started in 1955 and stayed on at least 15 years).

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Updated 04-25-2016 at 07:31 AM by David Koenig

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