Passed away peacefully with his family at his side at Listowel Memorial Hospital on May 5th, 2022 in his 94th year.
Beloved husband to Joan Little for 50 years.
Loving dad to Wendy (Robert), Fred, Tony, David, Tim (Gorete), Rosemary (Carlos) and Naomi (Mark).
Grandpa to Monica (Clint), Melissa (Harry), Roslyn (Kris), Matthew, Ana Laura (Juan Carlos), Sara, Emily (Chris), Alexandra.
Great grandpa to Cameron, Thomas, Ellie, Ruby, Tiago, Graysen, Alden.
Survived by siblings Olive, Ernest (Maureen).
Brother-in-law to Nancy (Larry), Robert (Luanne).
Missed by nieces Alice (Jeff), Charlene (Brandon), Natalie (Dave).
Predeceased by his parents Victor & Mabel Bird (nee Cook), in-laws Ellis & Margaret Little (nee Broughton), first wife and mother of his children, Sally Bird (nee Penner), daughter Wendy, sister Marjorie (Jim; Cor), brother in-law Bob.
Special uncle and mentor to many friends and relatives, including close relatives in Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. Ray also thoroughly enjoyed the 20-year tradition of the Chilean camping weekend at the farm. There are too many names to mention. This shows the genuine love and richness of his deep connections with people.
Ray was born in Saskatchewan and raised on a farm in Manitoba. After high school, he left home to work in the mines in Northern Manitoba. As a young man, Ray ran a store on the Peguis Reserve, guided canoe expeditions, and had many other interesting adventures. Ray was in the Air Force when he met Sally. They married and started a family in Montreal. Soon after, they moved to Clinton, Ontario, where he continued and eventually finished his career in the Air Force as a civilian instructor. At the same time, Ray was expanding his farming operations as well as his growing family. Then, he began work for Kongskilde where he was involved with new innovations in farming machinery. He was also known as an innovator in his own farming practices. Ray moved to a farm in Brussels where he and Joan began their life together. He stayed on the farm and enjoyed a wonderful quality of life. Even in his 94th year, he loved to see the crops grow. Among his many passions was sailing in the remote wilderness of Georgian Bay and the North Channel and he loved sharing this experience with Joan and his sailing friends, who he loved so dearly. When it came to the arts, Ray appreciated the Paul Thompson type of theatre where many friendships developed, which were very important to him. His own artistic expression was in the form of painting. He loved to paint life. Those fortunate enough to have a personal tour with Ray, will know that each painting tells a story. These tours would often include a trip to the famed wine cellar, where Ray would make the wine that poets write about. For 50 summers in a row, Ray filled the woodshed in preparation for the winter, even into his last year. The warmth of the woodstove is very symbolic of the friendships and company who would visit the house.
A Celebration of Ray’s life will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers and as expressions of sympathy, donations to the Listowel Memorial Hospital Foundation or the North Huron FoodShare would be appreciated.
Condolences may be left at: riversidefuneralhome.ca