Ray a beloved husband, brother, father and grandfather passed away peacefully at Hungerford Brighterkind Care Home in the early morning of 14 April after suffering from dementia for over three years.
Strong until the end he survived fourteen days bedridden before he found his final peace.
Born in Marlborough and educated in Manton and Marlborough Ray completed his national service in the Royal Engineers learning skills that would later serve him well. He wanted to become a guardsman but unfortunately failed the high requirement by half an inch. On leaving the army as a corporal he soon joined Marlborough College grounds team following in his father’s footsteps as a green fingered gardener. He was promoted to Manager of the College Laundry (then based in Pewsey Road) and he worked in this managerial and engineering role until he retired aged 67. He oversaw several technical upgrades across his time and the relocation of the laundry to its present Barton Dean site. Much of the old steam driven equipment was taken into a laundry museum based in Bath.
In 1956 he married June Noble who lived with her parents at Lockeridge School, having relocated from West Hartlepool at the end of the second world war. In 1958 they had their only child, Stuart who was born in Savernake Hospital.
Following his long service to Marlborough College Ray retired and moved into St. Michael’s Cottages in George Lane. Ray took on many voluntary tasks including maintenance for Preshute Primary School and helping to teach his beloved ballroom dancing at Marlborough College Summer School. He spent the rest of his time gardening and chatting to ex colleagues who also lived in the row of cottages. He also enjoyed photography and the odd moment returning to painting – something he enjoyed on and off during his working career including completing a portrait for the famous Swindon speedway rider Barry Briggs.
As age caught up with him Ray replaced ballroom dancing (a hobby that saw him and June dance at the Royal Albert Hall and win many medals) with Scottish country dancing demonstrating as part of Jennifer Parker’s local dance team at many events.
Ray was known by his colleagues, friends and family as a kind and gentle man who had time for everyone. He struggled with profound hearing difficulties caused by an army accident but always made the best of social gatherings – he loved people. As a young man he also loved his BSA motorbike – unfortunately his biking exploits came to an early end shortly before he married following a bad accident where he nearly lost his leg. However, the stories of his exploits lived on for man years.
Ray will be much missed by his family and friends and the wonderful carers at the Hungerford Care Home, despite his chronic dementia, he loved to teach them all to ‘dance’ right up to his final few weeks. He leaves behind his wife June who following severe strokes and cancer also now resides at Hungerford Care Home, his brother Sid and Sister Joyce, his son, Stuart and daughter in law, Tracey and three grown up grandchildren, Nick, Tom and Beanie.
For all that knew and loved him there are plans to celebrate his life when things return to more normal conditions. Meanwhile a burial is planned in Marlborough cemetery.