“I’ve built hundreds of houses, but I’ve only built one home.”
Robert A. Ray Sr. 83, of Ellsworth passed peacefully at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital on July 10th, surrounded by his loving wife and children. He was born at the Remick House in Trenton on September 17, 1928, the son of Madeline (Moon) and John E. Ray.
His work ethic was sparked at the age of 11 when he went to work smelt fishing with his father. During junior high, Bobby Ray delivered newspapers on the south side of Bridge Hill. During high school he worked for Wes Bridges on his dairy farm and for Chester Jones, mowing his hay fields and picking government beans. After graduating from Ellsworth High School, he went to work at the Estey Farm, milking cows. He held a variety of jobs until 1947 when he and his father created Ray Plumbing Co. Bobby learned the heating and plumbing trade from brother, John. George Partridge hired Bobby to do his plumbing, heating and wiring on his construction projects. He finally applied for a position with the C.H. Babb Co. of Bangor and was hired as a plumbing and heating specialist for the construction of Loring Air Force Base. Among other jobs for Babb were the medical buildings at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Waldo County General Hospital, the Millinocket Hospital and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital. From 1959-1962 he worked at Ray Plumbing Co. Among his jobs were the Ellsworth Shopping Center, Bucksport and Guilford High Schools, Washington County Courthouse, and Thomaston State Prison. In 1962 Bobby left Ray Plumbing to pursue his passion; building houses. During his building career he built hundreds of houses in Hancock and Washington County, including neighborhoods like Spring Hill, Gameston Park, Brae Drive, and Alton Ave. He also constructed many business buildings. Bobby served on the Ellsworth City Council in 1964, was on the Board of Trustees for the “Black House” (Woodlawn), and was chairman of the building committee for the current Ellsworth High School.
Bobby is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Persis “Pop” (Goodwin) Ray and children; Elizabeth and Fred Ehrlenbach of Trenton, Brenda and Jesse Thomas of Ellsworth, Amy and Brian Archer of Trenton, and Robert Jr. and Donna Ray of Trenton; grandchildren Heather Bird, David Thomas, Roddy Ehrlenbach, Chad Thomas, Bethany Folsom, Buddy Archer, Bobby Archer, Robert Ray III, James Ray, Cameron Ray, Brock Ray, and Cailyn Ray; 8 great-grandchildren; brother George M. Ray of Ellsworth and sister Marilyn Chandler of Corvallis, Oregon. He will also be missed by special friends John Couture and John Partridge Jr. He was predeceased by his brothers John Jr., Elden, Donald and sister Betty.
Visiting hours will be 5:00-7:00, Thursday, July 12, 2012 at Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St. Ellsworth where a funeral service will be 11:00 am, Friday, July 13th. Interment will be at Remick Cemetery
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Maine Coast Healthcare Foundation, 50 Union St. Ellsworth,04605.
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