Standing at the altar at the First Moravian Church in Riverside, his wife, Bonnie was shocked to learn she was marrying a man named Ray. She’d always known him as Nick. Half the nieces and nephews called him Uncle Ray; the other half Uncle Nick. Still, after 34 years of marriage, the real origin of his name is still a mystery. Growing up in Beverly, Raymond secured lifelong friendships and a deep bond with his siblings. Friends and family all relied on Ray’s self taught mechanical skills. If a car wouldn’t start or you needed a special tool, there was little doubt where you were going. He had an impact as a coach: the kids he worked with in the 70’s still kept in touch with him to this day. Come Sunday his home was packed with kids watching the films from the games he coached or Sunday NFL games. Ray was the cool parent; all of his son’s friends would get a kick out of hearing him tell the stories he usually kept from his children. He had a lifelong love of playful teasing. He had little mercy for the younger guys in his football pool. His team name said it all: “Taking Money.” Seems he always had a camera in his hand shooting everything from aquariums to the moon to team pictures for the kids he coached. He had a way of making other people break the rules for him: his daughter-in-law was known for smuggling candy and Boost to him. He not only had a perfect Christmas tree every year (a light on every branch) but he’d go out of his way to fix yours as well, attaching extra branches and even screwing it to the wall if that’s what it took. Though he was always a terrific dad his kids preferred “Vacation Dad.” That was the dad who gave you anything you want. It wasn’t hard to get him to the beach especially in Florida.
Raymond was an active member of the Beverly Athletic Club for over 45 years. He was a member if the local VFV 3020, 328th MP Company Family Readiness Group and a lifetime member of Beverly Fire Company No. 1.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie; children Melissa Rae and Matt (Jackie); siblings, Jean (Butch) Horton, Allan (Carolyn), Sherry Leeds and Donna (Chip) Van Auken. In-laws, Peggy, Tracie, Brian, Gary and Mark. Many dearly loved nieces and nephews and his best friend, Daisy.
Come celebrate 66 great years, Sunday 2-3 p.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church, 501 Morgan Ave., Palmyra NJ where there will be a service at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Epworth United Methodist Church, 501 Morgan Ave., Palmyra NJ.