Ray Thompson was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and grandfather, a musician, a traveller and a rambler. He was also the most decent, generous and good person most of us had ever met.
Ray died on the 30th of October, holding his daughter’s hand and listening to Hank Williams. He thankfully did not suffer long.
Left heartbroken without him are his wife Leda, his daughter Paula, son-in-law John, grandchildren Zoya and Maksim, his cousin Catherine and many friends, nieces and nephews. Ray was pre-deceased by his mother Mae, who died when Ray was only 19. Over the years he lost his Dad, Emerson, and his three brothers, Claire, Keith and Roger, as well as his beloved sisters-in-law Lois, Audrey and Mona. Most tragically, Ray’s cherished daughter Cathy died in 2015.
Ray was 90 years old when he died, but he still had lots of plans, including a trip to Slovenia. Most of all, however, he wanted to be there for Leda, the love of his life, for as long as she needed him.
Ray loved music, laughter, nature and travel. From Nashville to Morocco, Ecuador to the Camino de Santiago, Newfoundland to Costa Rica, Ray rambled, hiked and sang around the world, rejoicing at the beauty and grace he found everywhere.
Ray kept notes of every journey, an often-hilarious record for his grandchildren to enjoy. For Ray it was all about the journey. You see, while Ray was brilliant, he was also a bit clueless (in the most endearing way possible). Many of his stories would describe the beauty of a place in a sentence or two, and then take several pages to recount the kind souls who would help him use the laundromat or find the train station. He never had trouble finding help, especially from women, and especially from women convinced that Ray was Clint Eastwood.
Ray had wonderful friends, including Merrill and Lloyd who he saw one last time in August. Merrill and Lloyd were members of Ray’s country music group, The Ramblers. They played beautifully together for decades.
Ray also had a beautiful community of friends at Parkwood Presbyterian Church, including Dianne, Gord and Diane, who sang together for many years. Although Ray’s vagabonding (his word) ways meant that he didn’t spend much time in Nepean over the past 30 years, Parkwood was always home and remained close to his heart.
Ray also made many friends during his years as an accountant at Guest Motors, the CBC and finally with CRA. Ray was happily retired for a good 30 years. After his retirement at 60, he went back to school full time and graduated with distinction in Law and Political Science at Carleton University. He went on to volunteer at the United Nation’s Universidad para la Paz (Peace University) in Costa Rica.
To his core, Ray had a strong moral compass. He would take it quite personally when he encountered injustice, when the vulnerable were taken advantage of, and when the world did not live up to the high personal bar he set. His reaction was to turn frustration into action, try harder, to support innumerable worthy causes.
A funeral service for Ray will be held at Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Nepean (10 Chesterton at Meadowlands) on Saturday November 18th at 10:00 am. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Shepherds of Good Hope.