Sadly, Ray wasn’t able to recover from a fall in his apartment and passed away peacefully at Columbia House on December 1st.
During my last visit with Ray at the hospital he was in good spirits and knew the score. He talked fondly of the housekeeper that found him, his nephew now living in Switzerland and the times he and my father spent cutting trail in Kootenay National Park.
Ray was an accomplished historian and someone I enjoyed talking to about long ago times. His memory was fantastic. He clarified many valley events for me and taught me plenty of things I didn’t know.
Ray was well known in the community, driving his scooter downtown each day, stopping to talk with anyone, laughing usually ensued.
Life is a gift. Ray gave back with his always cheerful nature and natural decency.
When I look up, from my garden, towards downtown, Ray will always be riding his scooter along the paved path. Like the way it should be.
It’s not everyday you get invited to a 100th birthday celebration. It is especially rare to be celebrating two 100th birthdays at one party!
Joy Bond and Ray Crook are both lifelong residents of Invermere and the Columbia Valley. Their birthdays are within a week of each other. Today, among friends, family and provincial and federal dignitaries they celebrated their birthdays at the old Invermere CPR building.
Ray and Joy with Brianna Rota, representing Kootenay-Columbia federal MLA Wayne Stetski, and Columbia River-Revelstoke provincial MLA Doug Clovechok.
Lisa and I were born in the valley so we know Joy and Ray and all they have contributed to making this area so special.
Joy is an active member of the Windermere Valley Historical Society. She still cares for a large garden and delivers vegetables to people without a garden.
I spent a lot of time on Lake Windermere in the winter. Mrs. Bond was a wonderful skater and we would meet often and share a few words. I believe she skated and skied into her 80’s.
Ray lives down the street from us and we talk often. I am always amazed at his ability to recall the early days. His father sold my grandfather his first house in Windermere when he arrived back in the valley after WWI.
He told me about cutting trail in Kootenay National Park with my father. How they were chased by a moose and later had to cut a large fallen spruce blocking the trail into Flo Lake.
To have two original citizens of a town the size of Invermere turn 100 in the same week has to be some kind of a record.
There is nothing that can be said or written to sum up such wonderful and full lives.
Lisa and I wish Joy and Ray many more years of health, happiness and peace.