Born on 19 January 1931 in Montreal, Quebec, Ray was a younger son of Fred and Julie (Vanasse) Belair. He was my late father Maurice’s only surviving brother.
|Ray (left) with Maurice, 1950s|
As a young man, Ray left his parents and his home in Timmins, Ontario to seek his fortune in western Canada. He arrived in British Columbia about 1950, where he found logging work in and around Hope, a small community about two hours east of Vancouver.
In August 1952, Uncle Ray married local girl Emily Murphy. They had two children, my cousins Janet (known as Jenny) and Leo.
Uncle Ray was instrumental in getting my father to move to B.C. in 1979 to work with him. They formed a joint business in which they built logging roads, mostly in the Boston Bar area north of Hope. Accordingly, Dad packed up his belongings, put up our family home for sale, and drove ahead of us to get started. We followed Dad within a few weeks, after our house was sold.
|Ray with his family, 1960s|
In October 1980, Uncle Ray lost his wife Emily, to whom he had been married for twenty-eight years. Their daughter Jenny died in February 2011.
After working at logging and road-building for most of his life, Uncle Ray retired in September 1997. His sister Joan and her son André made the trip to B.C. to help Ray celebrate.
Uncle Ray is survived by his son Leo and his family, including a new little great-granddaughter, as well as his sisters Joan and Darlene of Ontario, Canada.
We will miss you, Uncle Ray. Rest in peace.
Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.