Long time Juneau resident Rayford "Ray" Earl Lemons died peacefully at home on May 29, 2010, surrounded by family after fighting lung cancer for 2 1/2 years. He was 68.
Born in 1941 in Modesto, Calif., Ray attended school in Modesto and Monterey, before immediately joining the Navy. He served aboard the USS Yorktown and spent time in Vietnam. Leaving the Navy in 1961, he worked as a construction worker, steel rigger, fence builder, cab driver, barber, and auto mechanic specializing in Volkswagens. He owned and operated Ray's Foreign Auto Repair in Roseburg, Ore. where he designed and built his own race cars. He also piloted his own small plane in Ore.
After moving to Juneau in 1980, he worked as a mechanic for Eero Volkswagen, mail carrier for the Postal Service and briefly drove for Taku Taxi. He married Bernadette "Bernie" Pavitt on Aug. 16, 1982. Two years later they opened Capital Cab Co. which still operates today under different ownership. They moved to Hawaii in 1988 and returned home to Juneau in 1995, where he drove his taxi for Capital Cab until his declining health forced him to retire. He never tired of driving and telling stories; he had wonderful memories of showing off the beautiful country he loved, especially the Shrine of St. Therese.
His hobbies included golfing and racing R/C cars and flying R/C airplanes. After an accident put an end to his own car racing, he enjoyed watching it on television and even traveled to a few live races. In his later years, he was an active member of St. Paul's Catholic Church and enjoyed his involvement in the Men's ACTS community after his first ACTS retreat in 1999 changed his life.
He loved his family and was especially delighted when his daughter presented him with his newest grandson in February of 2009 and when his son, Mike, moved home to live with and help Bernie care for him earlier this year.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Alton Lemons and Clide (Martindale) Lemons; brothers, Tommy and Robert Lee and his grandson, Dylan Schmidt.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Bernie Lemons of Juneau; sister, Renee' (Steve) Foster of Ruth, Nev.; sons, Danial (Linda) Lemons of Montrose, Col. and Michael Lemons of Juneau; daughter, Patricia (Rob Yorks) Brown, of Monmouth,Ore; grandchildren, Kira and Kyler Lemons of Montrose, Col., Faith and Tiffany Polk of Juneau, and Evan Yorks of Monmouth, Ore., as well as an aunt and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
His memorial will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at St. Paul's Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in memoriam to St. Paul's Catholic Church Building Fund, 9055 Atlin Dr., Juneau, AK, 99801, Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, 419 6th St., Juneau, AK, 99801 or the Gastineau Humane Society, 7705 Glacier Hwy., Juneau, AK, 99801.
Letters of condolence may be sent to the family at PO Box 33076, Juneau, AK, 99803.