Obituary photo of Ray Bland
In Loving Memory of

Raymond “Ray” Bland

1928-2023

Obituary of Raymond “Ray” Bland

On Friday, October 13, 2023, the world lost a truly exceptional gentleman, our “Ray of Sunshine.” Raymond bid his final farewell at the very full age of 95. He was no ordinary man; he was a beacon of extraordinary light, love, and laughter in the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him. He passed away exactly 8 years to the day of the passing of his beloved wife of 63 years, Doreen. As a remarkable, supportive father to Janet and Paul, Derek and Rose; Ray not only deeply loved and cared for them, but they looked up to and admired him for his remarkable qualities he embodied. He was affectionately known as Papa and selflessly imparted his wisdom as a mentor to his grandchildren and their spouses, Kyle and Kristy, Aaron and Kristen, Ryan and Erin, Justin and Jenn, the late Rachael and Eddie. He boasted with pride of having a special connection to his great-grandchildren, Emilia, Damon, Charlie, Emma, Katelyn, Andrew, Adam, Maya-Jane, and great-great grandchildren, Ryder and Ila. Dear ‘Uncle Ray’ of John, Graham, Jane, Sara, and Lynda. Many cousins and their families in England will forever remember him.

As previously referenced, Ray lived a very full life with worldly travels, experiences, and much time spent with the ones he loved and cherished. Ray found joy in writing down his stories to share with his family and friends. His compilation of stories formed his own mini-book, which he named "Inindaba Gowana Mena Aikona Funa", which amusingly translated to “What’s the matter with you? I do not understand.” Ray was born in Grangetown, England, in 1928. He was the eldest son of Jack and Sarah-Jane. Ray had three siblings, who all predeceased him, John, George and Enid. Bessemer Street, which was closely linked to the steel industry, would not only be the place where Ray grew up but also the very path that would shape his future career in the steelworks.

As a young boy, Ray was involved in Boy Scouts and belonged to the First Grangetown Group. These adventures allowed him to hold campouts in various places, which included Scotland and at the Ruthin Castle in Wales. At one point he earned the King Scout’s Badge. Ray started his first job as a telegram delivery boy, then applied to be an office boy for the local mill, which he successfully secured. During this time (in 1940) the mill was supplying a huge quantity of steel to aid in the war efforts. This gave Ray enough experience that would promote him into an apprentice Roll Turner, only making three cents an hour, at 48 hours, resulting in a grand pay of $1.44 per week (in Ray’s words “Go figure!”). His career in the steel industry would have Ray move from England to Africa, back to England, eventually ending up in Canada. In February of 1947, Ray received a request from the King to join the Royal Navy, which he did not have the heart to turn down. Ray dedicated 2 years of service, first being trained at the Royal Navy Reserve known as HMS Scotia, then transferred to HMS Howe then the King George V, a real 35,000-ton battleship. On a nice summer day in 1949, Ray was given a railway ticket and some money to return to Grangetown, to resume his life.

After returning home from the Navy, Ray was reacquainting with friends, which led him to meet Doreen Weston. Doreen was his best friend John’s sister, and she and Ray grew up living just a few streets away from each other. During their time of courting, they would attend dances together and would eventually become engaged. Their engagement lasted three and a half years, because it took that long to save enough for a down payment on a home! After marrying on December 6, 1952, eleven months later Ray and Doreen welcomed their first baby girl, Janet. Shortly after, the steel industry started to go downhill and Ray, Doreen and Janet would move to Rhodesia, Africa, where Ray would start to work for RISCOM (Rhodesian Iron and Steel Commission). This is also where the family of three would turn to four, as Derek was born.

Ray and family moved to Canada for work in 1967. Together they lived in Oshawa, Newcastle and eventually to Niagara Falls for 22 years. Retirement was such an enjoyable time for Ray and Doreen. They frequently enjoyed winter in the warm sunshine of Florida. Great times were spent in Fort Myers and Destin, playing tennis and meeting lifelong friends who became a pinnacle part of their elderly years. In his leisure time, Ray was very passionate about woodworking and has created many unique pictures whittled from wood that are now special pieces enjoyed by his family. Details of these stories have become Ray’s legacy and are beautifully reflected upon in his blog that can be found online. Many stories that will forever be shared with his family for future generations to come!

We would like to extend a very special thank you to our extended family and friends for the love they shared with Ray and the continuous support they give us. Also, to the staff of Chapel Heights for their amazing care and for making Ray feel right at home and one of their own. In accordance with Ray’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and a private family gathering was held. Arrangements have been entrusted with Essentials Cremation and Burial Services. Memorial donations given to the Alzheimer Society would be greatly appreciated by Ray’s family.

To learn more about Ray’s journey, please visit his blog found at http://blandbook.blogspot.ca/

Service Information

There are no upcoming public services scheduled or the service has occurred in the past.

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Nicole Crawford
5 months ago

I am so saddened to hear of my Ray of Sunshine passing. It was such an honor to be one of his caregivers when I worked at Chapel Heights and I looked forward to seeing him every morning with that cheeky smile. He will be missed. Thinking of you all xo

JoAnn Quinn
5 months ago

Dear Janet and Paul and family. Sending my condolences to all of you on the loss of Ray. The write up for Ray was outstanding and everyone will have many years of good memories of his stories and adventures

Nick and Nancy
5 months ago

Our condolences to the family Ray was a very special person always enjoyed hearing his stories he will be missed .

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