On January, 29th 2021, Raymond Rene Delaware, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully in Surprise, AZ at the age of 93. He was born Raymond Rene deLathauwer on July 3rd, 1927 in Woonsocket, RI, the first-born son of French immigrants of Belgian descent.
As a boy, Ray roamed the woods of Rhode Island with his collie named Lad, and fished with his father off Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1937, when he was 10, his father legally changed the family name to Delaware. Just before he turned 18, in June 1945 at the tail end of World War II, Ray enlisted in the US Navy, and was stationed in the Pacific theatre where he served under the US Fifth Fleet with the Shore Patrol unit on the island of Guam, eventually as a Seaman First Class.
Upon returning from the war a year later, he worked in his father’s RI company Royall Fashions, Inc., repairing knitting machines, where he met his wife Lucille, of French-Canadian descent. They married in 1949, had their first three children in Woonsocket, RI, lived a couple of years just over the border in Massachusetts, and in 1958 moved to Phoenix, Arizona where the rest of their seven children were born and raised.
Ray worked in Phoenix for over a decade as a driver for Coca-Cola, choosing the adventurous route 75 miles out of town each day through small copper mining towns. He then joined Phillips Food Service Equipment Company, installing often complex restaurant equipment, and later Thunderbird Fire Systems. He was an industrious and flexible worker, and enjoyed teaching others and telling stories of his adventures to his children.
Ray continued an avid outdoorsman. He served as a volunteer Dad and mentor for the St. Agnes Catholic Church Boy Scouts Troop 37 for over 20 years, and was their primary story teller around the evening campfire on wilderness campouts. He also organized summer vacations with his family, hiking, camping, fishing and exploring the woods and lakes of the Superstition Mountains and Northern Arizona, including several hikes with his children down the Grand Canyon.
In addition to his passion for the wilderness, as an artist and craftsman he spent many an evening carving or working with wood in his workshop.
During his retirement years he lived at his cabin in Payson, AZ with his wife, riding his four wheeler into the back country, continuing to work wood, and venturing on long walks through the landscape with his dogs.
He is survived by his sister Lillian (the first person born with the Delaware name in 1938), his five sons Richard, Mark, Paul, Michael and Robert and his two daughters Jeanne and Betty, eleven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother Julie Delaware (1958), his father Rene Delaware (1966), his younger brother Andre Delaware (1999) and his beloved wife of 57 years, Lucille Delaware (2007).
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on March 27th, 2021. Flowers and donations may be sent to Mountain Meadows Memorial Park, Payson, AZ 1-928-474-1658.
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