Ray MENARD

MENARD Ray Menard died peacefully on November 9, 2008 in Red Deer, AB. Ray was born on December 17, 1914, in Gleichen, AB, to Delima Rose and Ed Menard. Ray was the second of four brothers, all now deceased. Ray married his beloved wife Wilda in Gleichen, on February 22, 1938. They spent their first few years together in Calgary, where Ray worked as a machinist for International Harvester. He also worked at a Calgary munitions plant tooling weapons for the WW-II troops. In 1941, Ray moved his young family to Dawson Creek, BC, where he did maintenance work on the buses used to transport troops up the Alaska Highway. In 1944, Ray moved to Grande Prairie, AB to set up and run a machine shop (Steel Industries). Grande Prairie was home to Ray and Wilda for 37 years. It is where they raised their six children and made many cherished, friendships that endure to this day. The Peace country suited Ray. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He spent much time exploring places that few people could get to. Favorite fishing grounds included Two Lakes, the Kakwa River, Kinuso Falls and The Great Bear Lake. In the early '60s, Ray became one of the first to drive to the crest of Kinuso Falls in a motorized vehicle – his 4X4 jeep. In the mid '60s, Ray designed and built his Swamp-Buggy, a beast of a machine on modified, 5' high tractor wheels. It could go anywhere. Ray also built himself an airboat (equipped with an old airplane engine) that he used to run the local waterways (the Wapiti, Smoky and Peace Rivers). In 1968 Ray sold his share of Steel Industries and worked as a safety inspector for the Worker's Compensation Board until he retired in 1981. He built himself and Wilda a retirement home, on their son Dan and daughter-in-law Joey's farm, just outside of LaGlace, AB. Along with the house, Ray built a shop where he produced several pieces of fine furniture (cabinets and grandfather clocks were his specialty). Ray and Wilda enjoyed living near LaGlace. Ray was president of the local Twilight Club, built children's furniture and bookshelves for the local library and earned a reputation as the man-who-can-fix-practically-anything (including, cranky old furnaces). In 1998, Ray and Wilda moved to a retirement complex (Victoria Park) in Red Deer, AB. The move brought them closer to family living in Edmonton, Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House. In the spring of 2007, Ray and Wilda moved into the home of their son Dan and his wife Joey (near Red Deer), who cared for them. In August of 2008, Ray and Wilda moved to a continuing care facility in Hanna, AB where they spent the final three months of their journey together. Ray Menard was a good man, a devoted husband, a brilliant father and grandfather, a faithful friend. We were lucky to have him. Ray was predeceased by one daughter, Norma Jean (Jody) Philips and her son, Brett Pack. He is survived by Wilda, his wife of over 70 years and their children: Karen (Arthur) Musiko of Red Deer, (Galen) Philips of Rocky Mountain House, Linda (Lorne) White of Edmonton, Dan (Joey) Menard of Red Deer, Harvey (Susan) Menard of Grande Prairie, and Janet Menard of Kingston, ON; 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grand children. There will be a celebration of Ray's life for family and friends: November 29, 2008 (2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at Smoky Trout Farm, Red Deer (phone: 403 342 5206 for directions) and December 6, 2008 (2:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at The Royal Canadian Legion in Grande Prairie, Alberta.