NORTH SMITHFIELD- Ray, Joseph George, 88, passed into eternal rest on February 25th at the Phillip Hulitar Hospice Center surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of the late Mary Lillian (Furtado) Ray to whom he was married for sixty years.
He was the cherished father of Marie Ray Fraley and her husband, David, of North Smithfield and the dear grandfather of John M. Fraley, II and his wife, Melissa Carubia of Newton, MA and Benjamin G. Fraley, of Cincinnati, OH.
A lifelong resident of West Warwick until moving to the Villa at St. Antoine's in North Smithfield seven years ago, he was the devoted son of Frank and Mary (de Faria) Ray and brother of Alfred Ray, Thomas Ray, the late Francis Ray and the late Evelyn (Ray) Simas.
An Army veteran of WWII, he served as a Sergeant in the 623rd Engineer Company in the second wave of the invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald. He was a lace weaver by trade for many years at the Valley Lace Co. later rising to manager of quality control. He was later co-proprietor of Frontier Lace and RayBro Lace Manufacturing Co. and served as recording secretary of the Amalgamated Lace Operatives of America.
While a parishioner of St. Anthony's Church in West Warwick, he participated in the choir and was former President of the Holy Name Society. He also chaired the West Warwick Fire Study Committee that was responsible for the building of Station 4 on Cowesett Ave.
In his retirement, his creative skills saw their full expression. He sketched and carved wooden figures for his grandsons and was a prolific writer. He was a frequent contributor to Amby Smiths column in the Kent County Times with reminiscences of local figures and bygone days. He chronicled historical, family and military memories in both poetry and prose but most cherished are the poems that accompanied his grandsons birthday cards each year.
A self-educated man, he had an insatiable curiosity, an expansive vocabulary and was a natural problem-solver. He will be remembered for his quick wit and humor, his congenial personality, his generous heart and courageous struggle with Parkinson's Disease.
Funeral from Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home & Crematory, 659 East Greenwich Ave., West Warwick, at 8:15 AM on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anthony's Church in West Warwick at 9 AM with interment at St. Marys Cemetery (Crompton) with military honors. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to the West Warwick Assistance Agency, Inc. (Food Pantry), 1293 Main St., West Warwick, RI 02893. Information and condolences at carpenterjenks.com.