On Christmas Eve morning we all lost an incredibly sweet and loving man. That man was my brother Ray...or Ray Ray to me.
Ray was only 48 but in the time he was with us , he touched so many people's with the love and affection that he gave so freely. He was always available to help guide his friends through tough times with his unwavering positivity, when in fact Ray had always struggled with his own inner conflict. He wouldn't believe that these kind words were being written about him because he didn't recognize the gifts in himself that everyone saw in him.
Ray was a dynamic person with so many varied interests.. from his love of airplanes which started in his teen years, to punk rock and goth to online gaming, (where he has friended people all over the world - many of who are reaching out now telling me how much they loved his upbeat positive personality that was welcoming of all types of people!)
Ray was very courageous!
He wasn't afraid to be different in high school , where he was bold enough to show up in a purple mohawk and dressed in his punk rock gear, knowing that he would be teased by many of his peers. He believed in self expression and being authentic, period.
He also had an unrelenting committment to recognition and advancement of gay rights and equality. He was courageous ! In his early twenties he protested in many arenas for gay rights, at the expense of constantly being ridiculed.
He will always be my little brother. I was older but he always made me feel cared for. He would often grab my hand , wink at me and say, "I got you sis." He supported me in all of my interests, from animal rescue to my fitness business. He was proud of me and would show me off to his frends. People who knew Ray will understand when I say that there was something very special in his energized way of greeting you or how he took an interest in what you were sharing with him.
I am profoundly sad that he is gone and I had a friend tell me today that he will always be alive in my heart and I know that many others feel the same way. He left such a big, loving footprint in all of our hearts. I want to be better and braver because of him.
Unfortunately, Ray did not have any resources available for his funeral and memorial services. Sadly, both of our parents have already passed away so I am responsible for handling the processing of his belongings and his funeral arrangements.
I am humbly asking for assistance from our friends to help me with this and to provide Ray with a loving, dignified memorial.
We will have a Celebration of Life ceremony for my sweet brother on a Saturday in late January or early February, (TBA this week). It will be held in the Binghamton, NY area, centrally located for everyone living in the southern tier, and also in Ray's old stomping grounds. This will be an opportunity for us to honor Ray and for everyone to share stories about their experiences with him.
Ray would love to have a big gathering where he is the center of attention and where his light would shine so very bright. We all know that about him! :)
I miss him so much already and I look forward to meeting so many people who loved my brother.
Thank you in advance.
warm regards from Ray's big sis,
- Tammy England
- Edward Gallagher
- Elise Flanders
- Belinda Macdonell
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