It’s been nearly 50 years since we first met. I don’t remember exactly when it was but, I believe it was at the start of the school year back in 1971. Little did we know then that our friendship would span a lifetime and leave us with so many great memories, there’s so much to talk about.
For a few years, we had many ventures until Sally entered the picture and you got married. You eventually moved to the apartment where most of our weekend gatherings would be held. We continued to play a lot of poker, 500 and Trivial Pursuit games. There were many parties and trips up to your cottage. We spent hundreds of weekends together and after you moved to Calgary, you made a special trip back to be my best man when I got married. You had recently moved but you were there for me. There were many more visits to follow to see your family and you always included me in your plans.
I always looked forward to your visits. Seeing Your whole family and spending time with you guys was the highlight of my summers. Some of the best times were when we went to the cottage and squeezed in a swim, many cold beers and then sat around the campfire gazing at the stars while having crazy conversations.
But one of my fondest memories was in the early days when we would take those late-night walks through the mountains under a full moon. You would lead the way and bring us to some discovery of yours explaining its origin, purpose and significance. I was always captivated and impressed with the knowledge you had.
Your knowledge of the outdoors was unsurpassed. From gardening to stones, to the forest to geological formations, you were well versed. Indeed, you had a degree in Geology but you always had those insights long before your degree. You weren’t just well versed with the outdoors either, you were well versed on many topics including politics, our favorite.
We had many conversations over the years. You were easy to talk with. You didn’t abide by any one set of rules. You were easy going and free spirited. You always had a great demeanor about you. Your laid-back style was your signature. And that, not in a bad way, because you cared about people and things always mattered. I never heard you raise your voice or get angry. You had a great sense of humor combined with an amazing wit that drew people towards you. From the very beginning to the last visit I always enjoyed your company. I had tremendous fun; you definitely enriched my life.
I could see that you had gone through some very difficult times. However, your spirit was shining through. Though you were short in speech, your wit was still with you and you were starting to heal. It also shined by the way you looked at people and the way you held someone’s hand. I could tell that, that meant a lot to you. There was a lot of love and thought in those gestures.
So, I was shocked and filled with great sadness when I heard of your passing. It has numbed me.
My heart goes out to you Sally, Danny, Nikki, Robbie, Dean and all of the family.
I love you Bros. Thank you for being you. Until we meet again…
Ray was often present with our group on break where would often tackle the serious issues of the day. We almost had peace in the middle east solved but we only get 15 minute on our breaks, that along with domestic regional and conflicts the WTO . He would tell us about the FLQ crises etc. He also often talked of his family with great pride and his annual pilgrimage to Quebec each year. His moniker was Ray of Sunshine. Last we knew Ray was putting up the good fight and was ahead on the score cards and we expected him to win in the early rounds and were surprised it was an upset and he didn't finish the fight . Good bless the Ray of Sunshine and may he RIP
Ray was a colleague who was always generous of his time and his bubble gum. I will miss his stories about the chi-hayoos and the adventures he had with his beloved grandson.
My condolences to his family and friends.
Karri Lea Estabrooks