As many of you know Ray is on hospice care. We had set-up this Caring Bridge site as a way to keep everyone updated on how Ray is doing. This is also a place where you can send Ray messages of encouragement and support.
Following is a condensed version of Ray's Story as told by Rev. Brown during Ray's Living Eulogy in January of 2022
As spoken by Ray, "I am falling apart piece by piece. I’ve always had mild asthma, high blood pressure and environmental allergies. I have a pacemaker. I use a machine at night for sleep apnea as I sometimes stop breathing. And I have a tactile machine to massage my legs and elastic stockings to keep my ankles and legs from swelling. I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic and have kidney disease. And now I have colon cancer. Was going to the VA hospital weekly for cancer treatment. I’ve had some surgeries, one in early 2020 to have my bowel removed so I carry a colostomy bag. And I need a walker to get around. And, then, in October 2021 my doctors informed me that the cancer treatment was not doing any good and so they stopped it, telling me that I had maybe 2-3 months to live. I was able to celebrate one last Christmas and I just might make it to my 87th birthday this week. "
**Ray did make it to his 87th birthday on January 26, 2022. And is still with us now.**
Ray continues on with his cheery and positive spirit. He has been a model for all of us to follow. He is full of support for anyone who comes into his path. Now is the time for us to support him. God bless Ray.
“Ray” was born in Kansas January 26, 1935. He was named Alphred Ray Springs. He went by his middle name at home. In fact, he didn’t realize that his name was Alphred until he went to school and they called on him with the name Alphred. The spelling came from the Netherlands.
He came to San Francisco in1942. He founded it “foggy, cold and wet” and wanted to go home. But the family stayed.
He was early into anti-racism. He and his brother were members of a church choir. When the pastor denied a black girl membership, the whole choir walked out, never to return. He learned about segregation when he was in the army and tried to buy a ticket in Birmingham. He went to the line for blacks. He was told to go to the whites only line in the front of the building. He didn’t understand. He had to be told about segregation by his First Sergeant.
Ray had joined the Army in 1954 and was discharged in 1957. Among the places he served was Germany. He used the opportunity to travel to other parts of Europe. Thanks to the Army he went to clerk typist school in the Bavarian Alps. He was able to visit Orleans, France where he stayed with his fiancé (now his sister-in-law). He also was able to visit Zurich and Berlin.
After the Army he worked many different jobs, one of which was in Hawaii. He finished his career with the Federal government where he worked for 30 years as a personnel administrator. He retired in 1989.
He has had to face harsh tragedies in his life. His younger brother died at age 47 from a blood clot in his heart. Rick, his partner of 13 years, committed suicide with a self inflicted gunshot. Rick was 46. In spite of that, we know Ray as a sunny and positive person.
He has been the member of several churches as a Deacon and Elder. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, Fruitvale Presbyterian Church and Metropolitan Community Church. Now he is a beloved member of Noe Valley Ministry where he has served as a Deacon.