September 6, 1930 – August 14, 2021
Predeceased by his dear parents Gordon and Alma Bray, Ray is survived by his loving wife Daphne Bray (Gosling), his sister Elaine Belzil (Bray),much loved by nephews Rick and (Barb) Belzil and Jamie Belzil, nieces Sandra Moore and Michelle Belzil. Ray is also survived by many caring great and great, great nieces and nephews.
How can one fit the 90 year life story of a well-loved active man into 90 mm of print and give him the justice he deserves? Nigh impossible!
Born in Toronto, Ontario, only son of a family of four, he studied and played hard at school even when illness dogged him as a boy. In the 1950’s, his father and Simpsons were two of his employers, where he was never caught shirking.
In 1957, Ray studied theology at Huron University College. He was Ordained Deacon May I5, 1960 and then Priest in May 14, 1961. From working in Toronto he was called to Chase BC and the Diocese of Kootenay. He was vicar of Shuswap Lakes, living in Chase but serving Sorrento, Celista, Monte Creek, Eagle Bay, also Westwold, Falkland, Monte Lake. Half of his time was in Sorrento Centre and this was his focus, where he proved to be hard working, practical, determined and a stickler for detail. Teens in the summers experienced bible study, discussions about God, paddled canoes, swam and sang.
Later, Ray was sent to Fernie in the Kootenays; 1965, back to West Bank, Kelowna, and then up to Salmon Arm in the Shuswap arriving in 1983.
His ministry was friendly and warm.
His love of the outdoors was known in Camp Couchiching, Ontario and Camp Owaissi, and Sorrento Centre, B. C. where he fixed and repaired, and was a mentor to all. Ray served under Bishops Coleman, Scott, Berry, Crawley, Privett and Archbishop Lynne McNaughton. He was Commissary to Bishop Berry. In the middle of all this Ray married Daphne Gosling in 1968 and this year 2021, they were able to celebrate 53 happy years of life together. Among other activities, Ray supported the Cursillo Movement, brought Stephen Ministry to St John the Evangelist, Salmon Arm, entertained exchange visitors from Hokkaido, Japan, and was able to connect with almost anyone he met.
As nephew Rick wrote “Ray was first a Man of God. True and caring to all: a lover of all God’s creation. He was an avid hiker, canoer and camper. Many years he pulled his little, but mighty Boler trailer across Canada to visit friends and family in Ontario. He was a mentor not only to younger family members, but friends and parishioners. He will be remembered fondly by many years of campers at Lake Couchiching Ontario.”
Ray grew up in busy Metropolitan Toronto but always referred to British Columbia as “God’s Country.”
He and Daphne spent their retirement years in Enderby before moving back to Salmon Arm and into Andover Terrace Retirement Resort. Many thanks are extended to the medical personnel of St Paul’s hospital, Vancouver, Shuswap Lake General Hospital, Interior Health and especially to Dr. Levins who, for many years kept Ray going through his frequent health issues. Gratitude is also extended to the staff of Andover Terrace who cared for him with much patience and love. Ray spent the last two weeks of his life in Mt Ida Mews where again he was made welcome and well cared for. His final hours were made comfortable by the caring palliative nurses in SLGH. We have much to be thankful for.
Ray was like the ‘energiser bunny’ that keeps going and going. One day though, his battery finally gave out. He will be missed by many colleagues and friends. Ray left clear instructions for Bowers Funeral Home and others regarding his funeral.
Ray was cremated, as he wished. His ashes were interred on Thursday, August 19, at St Mary’s, Sorrento. A Requiem Eucharist in Thanksgiving for his life was held at St John the Evangelist Church, Salmon Arm, on August 20, 2021. Bishop James Cowan presided.
Donations in memory of The Reverend Canon Ray Bray may be sent to Huron University College Foundation, London, Ontario, PWRDF Toronto, Ontario, Camp Owaissi, Diocese of Kootenay or to a charity of your choice.
For a more complete history of Ray Bray, anecdotes, stories, sayings, historical facts, may be sent to Brenda Garren [email protected] or c/o St John the Evangelist Church,170 Shuswap St. SE, Salmon Arm, VIE 4H7.
If you have something to share about Ray, please send them to Brenda by November 30 2021. Online condolences may be sent to Ray’s family through his obituary at www. bowersfuneralservice. com