Obituary of Raymond P. J. "Ray" Gauvreau
Raymond Patrick Joseph Gauvreau … left this Life September 26th, 2019, and with it a 68 year legacy. Today our family will pay tribute to a man who was the world to us … to our friends. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, a “city slicker” where he was introduced at a young age to art and music. A drummer in a band at 15, underage for the bar scene, his parents, Ray & Jean, his chaperons … he played and they danced. The wee hours of the morning, baby sister, Crissy, and big bro, baked cookies, and listened to records. A forever bond. She designed Penguin Ray – Chemo Sucks! And the proceeds were donated to Make-a-Wish.
His passion of sculpting clay began in his early 20s, cleaning studios after hours, leading him to creating his own working studio in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Some of his pieces are still on display at the Potter's Guild, and we guard our pieces with love! Ray was beaming when mom “Merle” took to the potter's wheel … throwing mugs at 82, “you have a handle on this butter-tart queen!”
Ray could be defined as a rebel … he colored outside the lines … he explored outside the typical box of Life …curiosity and passion have guided him ... he is Ray … unique.
Whether is was designing a tree house for his son, James, or cradling his infant daughter, Jennifer, to sleep while playing the keyboard … he was engaged with life. He was Yogi Bear at Jelly-stone Campground and never missed an outing at Blueberry Hill Cub/Scout camp-outs with James and Adam. He proudly pinned on badges for Sparks, Brownies and Girl Guides for Jennifer and Candice.
Returning to college, a simple clothespin mechanism, led him to a career as Computer Engineer at Algoma Steel … building longtime friendships and forever “Besties”. Ray courted me, with his love of Gary Larson's, The Far Side cartoons … on the far-side of Iron Bridge. In 1996 we wedded our blended family in Mickey & Minnie Mouse style … he called us the Six Pack. Life was an adventure, even when Dad got lost … which was often … those LOST adventures were the best! The car always malfunctioned at La Senorita! We created memories together … ice-cream in ice bowls on Lake Superior, riding horses at his sister's ranch in Sudbury with cousins, aunts and uncles, building and tearing apart computers, a family trip to Mexico, camping at Monocle Lake, standing in line at midnight for the next Harry Potter release, are just a sprinkling of memories to treasure.
Ray had a dream, to work/live in the USA. We packed up in 1998 and headed for Blytheville, Arkansas, just north of Memphis. Whew! Was that a culture shock … NUCOR STEEL, we made the deep south our home. He hated Elvis, but loved the Memphis Blues … the Peabody Ducks and the Macaroni Grill. Here, he taught our daughter, Candice to drive yabba-dabba-doo style in the old Ford Tempo … the floor boards rusted through and the ignition bungied to run, they grew close as father and daughter, practicing in the Walmart parking lot. He, so patient as Candice popped curbs and grazed trees … a proud Dad, when she got her license driving the Z3 convertible! He beamed from ear to ear, when Candice took a summer job at NUCOR and drove Dad to work. That's my girl!! Two peas in a pod when it comes to ice-cream, movies, hammocks, camping and hugs.
We try and teach our children by example, instilling values and life lessons. Adam learned to color outside the lines … he learned, from Dad Ray, to push the limits and boundaries and find his own way. It was Adam who gave Ray the strength to fight cancer … to push through the pain, the depression, because he too battled cancer, Leukemia, and survived. To know that your son has the wisdom and knowledge to guide you through this journey ...to be that loved is beyond measure. “you are my son… Love You Forever Adam”.
11 years later, no kids in the nest, it was time to pursue his dream, we packed up and move half way across the USA to the Appalachian mountains of Roanoke, Virginia. TMEIC was his new muse, taking him to all corners of the world, sharing his visions in technology. His was so proud to be part of the Grow TMEIC team. We poured our heart and soul into renovating our home with Ruby's blessing, and Mamma Turpin's love. He never missed an opportunity for a Diamond Star flight with Rick, and all the VIP tickets to the Blue Angels … thanks Robbie. Little did we know that our final move back to Canada one year ago, would be such a short chapter in Ray's life … to retire, be closer to family and grand-kids.
We love you Grandpa G. You will always be Nate's “honeybun” with farts, and giggles, poop emojis that stick to ceilings and eating “bezzert” in pie irons around the campfire … being 5 is so grand. Lucas, the ocean really is life, you are so wise for being 7! Thanks for doing the Terry Fox run in memory of me. Hope Grandma G doubled my donation! You might be small, but you inherited Grandpa's smart brain! Cory, deciding to live with your other parents this year, IS coloring outside the lines! Grandpa wants you to color as much as you want because sometimes it is worth it! Almost a teen and a whole world to discover … Dad Adam will show you how.
Ray, we danced, we lived a huge life full of love and laughter and tears … memories forever and always. I love you to the moon and back …we will continue to make memories in your honor and carry on your traditions … watching It's a Wonderful Life … A Christmas Story … Weekend at Bernie's. Eating butter tarts and lemon pie and saving the crusts for you. Grandpa, you have forever etched Paddington into our hearts … a new tradition … Knuckles will keep me safe and remind me of your unconditional love … she was your sidekick!
You have always said the only thing constant in Life is Change … today we have Change and we will embrace. Tonight I found an email you wrote but did not send ...
If the last ditch miracle drug I am taking works I will have about 17 months to cram in a 17 year retirement with Darlene. If this treatment does not work then I am afraid the water filter in our fridge will outlast me and yes, we must keep a sense of humor.
I've spent the last year, thinking, remembering, laughing and crying. So many memories flood my thoughts, deep buried ones I thought were gone. It has been a time to take stock of life and the measure of the man.
Through my journey, I have always questioned everything but never demanded answers. I am content to ask why for myself and others and then walk away in thought and hopefully causing others to question. Life is a puzzle and I am content in forever searching and not knowing the ultimate plan or reasons. It is the search that is most important, not the answers. Oh, and by the way “If This is God's Plan, God is a Terrible Planner!”
I've been creative all my life
Kind and Caring
I Love You Soulmate … Darlene Gauvreau (nee: Burbadge / Wade)
We Love You Dad … Candice Wade, Adam Wade (RJ), Jennifer Gauvreau, James Gauvreau
We Love You Grandpa … Cory, Lucas and Nate
We Love You Son … Ray & Jean Gauvreau (deceased), Merle Haaskman (nee: Burbadge and the late Delbert Mills) & Clayton Shannon
We Love You Brother … Arleen (Don) Walker, Diane Rondo, Catherine (Mitch) Bovin, Micheal (Theresa) Gauvreau, Crissy (Mike) Armstrong and Theresa Gauvreau.
We Love You Uncle Ray … dozens of nieces and nephews, we will share our memories of you
We Love You Brother-in-Law … Julia & Steve Bell, Tim Burbadge, Susie Burbadge
We Love You “Besties” … Tom & Robin Boyer, Tom Featherstone
We Love You Friend … from all the people you have touched around the world!
We Love You Forever … Rick & Betty Gilmore and family
Woof !Woof !… Love Knuckles
In lieu of a service, Ray's wishes were to be cremated and pay-it-forward in his honor. Family and friends have been sending their love and support on Ray's cancer journey through Facebook … the health updates are posted publicly, on Darlene Gauvreau's page, and will remain public for those that wish to read about his journey with Mantel Cell Lymphoma.