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Allan Ray

January 23, 1938 ~ February 23, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Allan Ray Obituary

In life, Allan Humphrey Ray was full of music. 

His only formal instruction consisted of accordion lessons as a youth and a handful of saxophone lessons from Great Salt Bay band teacher Anne-Marie D’Amico when Allan was in his 60s. Nonetheless, he was able to pick up any instrument and intuitively play a pleasant melody. He even managed to get a satisfying hum from a didgeridoo on his first try. That was in 2013, when the family gathered to celebrate his 75th birthday in the guise of holding a going away party for his granddaughter, Jaime, who was headed to Australia for a semester abroad.  

Allan, 86, of Newcastle, Maine, died at home on February 23, 2024 after teaching his glioblastoma a lesson in grace. From the day he was diagnosed with brain cancer in August of 2021 until he passed away, Allan maintained the same gentle demeanor he was known for throughout his life. He met each new challenge with dignity, he never complained, and he exuded love wherever he went. 

Allan was born in New Gloucester, Maine, in 1938 to Ted and Louise Ray, who as a TV/Radio repairman and the cook at the local elementary school, were well-known members of their community. 

Allan met the love of his life, Janet, at New Gloucester High School in 1953. Though they never dated in school, they did share a seat on the bus home from their Senior class trip to Washington, D.C. in 1957. At the time, Janet had just broken up with her boyfriend, and Allan happened to be free. Allan was drafted into the Army shortly after graduation and served for 2 years, including time in Munich, Germany, which led to his lifelong habit of saying “gesundheit” and “danke schoen” instead of “bless you” and “thank you.” 

When he returned from duty, one of the first stops he made was a visit to Janet’s parents’ home to see if she was still in town. They began dating that year and were married on July 6, 1963. In 2023, they celebrated 60 years of marriage with children and grandchildren at the Damariscotta River Grille. 

Allan had a 30-year career with the telephone company which began in New Gloucester at Pine Tree telephone and continued in Damariscotta when Clark Hutchins invited him to join another branch of the same company, Nash Independent Telephone Company, in 1963. Over the years, Nash became Continental, Contel, GTE, and finally Verizon. Allan served in many capacities, from line worker to repairman to management. He was the local manager at GTE when he retired in 1990. 

After his retirement from the phone company, Allan stayed home for about two weeks before deciding to get his CDL license and fulfill a lifelong dream of driving a school bus. He began driving for Great Salt Bay in 1991, and over his 30-year career there, he drove generations of students, touching them all with his kind spirit, continuous whistling, and good humor. It wasn’t uncommon to be in town with Allan and have someone approach to say hello and thank him for driving them or their children - or both - to school and for being such a positive presence in their lives. 

The things that were most important to Allan in life were his family and his community. He loved hosting his extended family’s annual lobster bake, which was held every summer in his and Janet’s backyard in Newcastle for over 50 years. Allan and Janet also hosted backyard lobster bakes and barbecues for work gatherings, high school reunions, holiday picnics, and even their daughter Belinda’s wedding. Allan loved a good party.  

He served his community in numerous roles: Rotary President, 1976-1977; Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce President, 1992-1993; Great Salt Bay Sanitary District Trustee, 1991-2023; Lifeline volunteer for Miles Health, 1992-2010; over 50 years of service with the Grand Lodge of Maine; Lincoln County Little League Coach and Treasurer for 23 years (with some help on the treasury front from Janet). 

He was a co-founder and member of the original Board of Directors for the CLC Recreation Center, which is now the YMCA. He was a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow, and he received the Annual Community Service Award from the Chamber of Commerce in 1991, the Salvation Army Meritorious Service Award in 2003, and the Spirit of America Foundation Award from the Maine Legislature in 2020. 

He took great pride in mowing and maintaining the Newcastle Veterans Park from its inception, taking the time to lower and raise its flag in accordance with holidays and observances. 

A talented woodworker, Allan was always tinkering in his shop, where he loved to spend time. He made numerous dollhouses which he donated to schools and nonprofits for charity events, and his creations, in the form of cabinets, cubbies, desks, shelves, and furniture can be found in numerous Great Salt Bay classrooms as well as his home and the homes of his children. 

Allan was predeceased by his brothers Theodore and Carroll Ray and his sister Constance Bilter; and is survived by his brother, Robert Ray, his sister Elizabeth Jordan, his wife, Janet, and his four children and their families: Cynthia Rogers, her husband Mickey, and their daughters Krista, Danica, and Jaime; Allan Ray, Jr., his wife Shirley, and their children Amanda and Jarred; Darlene Ray and her husband Chuck Fairbrother; and Belinda Ray, her husband Ward Willis, and their children Ian and Evan.

A celebration of Allan’s life will be held in the gymnasium at Great Salt Bay Community School on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 11am.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543.  Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.

 

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Services

Funeral Service
Saturday
March 9, 2024

11:00 AM
Great Salt Bay School
559 Main Street
Damariscotta, ME 04543

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