Raymond Joseph Durant, 90 years, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 7, 2013. Ray had been battling Alzheimer's disease since 2000.
Predeceased by his wife, Helene (nee Tremblay); brothers, Ezra, Herman, Willard; and sister, Jeanette.
Beloved father of Mike (Charlottetown) and Nancy (New Haven), and loving grandfather of Alexandra and Ryan.
Ray was born in Summerside, P.E.I., in 1922. He was a veteran of the Second World War, member of the P.E.I. Regiment and notably the First Special Service Force. Ray worked briefly in Ottawa after the war, then sailed for several years on the ice-breaking ship "Tupper" with the Canadian Coast Guard. He married Helene in 1960 and returned to P.E.I. to raise a family working for several years as a bartender, and eventually moving to the Department of Highways where he drove the fuel truck in the summer and a "salt shaker" in the winter.
Ray had a magnetic personality. He drew people to him with his sense of humour and his huge heart. He loved music and dancing with his lovely wife Helene. In later years, Ray and Helene travelled regularly to attend dances in Moncton and in Ottawa and also took vacations to Mexico with daughter Nancy and her (then) husband Doug.
In May 2005, Ray was honoured to head the VIP procession of the parade that opened the new War Museum in Ottawa. He was overwhelmed by the thousands of people who turned out to honour the veterans and the many who ran along side his jeep to shake his hand and thank him for preserving their freedom. Ray told his daughter later that the day "was one of the high points in his life".
Ray was a great listener and had many friends whose lives were touched by his kindness and compassion. He was a wonderful father and husband and a hard working man. He loved trout fishing and the outdoors; in his own words: "there is not a stream on P.E.I. that I haven't fished in". He enjoyed carpentry work, painting and landscaping work and was very proud of the wonderful home he built and maintained for his family.
Ray's last few years were spent at the Atlantic Baptist Home where he received the best of care and was dearly loved by many of the staff.
Ray's wishes were to have a private memorial ceremony with his children. In lieu of flowers, donations to the P.E.I. Alzheimer's Society or the P.E.I. Atlantic Baptist Home in Ray's memory would be deeply appreciated.
"Thank you Dad for all you did for us and for giving us the most precious gift of all - our cherished memories of you. Love Mike and Nancy"
Arrangements entrusted to MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel.
Online condolences may be made at www.macleanfh.com