March 3, 1943 – November 17, 2012
Ray was born Raimo Allan Lahdenpara, March 3, 1943 in Pascalis, Quebec to Finnish parents Vieno Oksanen and Victor Lahdenpera (later changed to Lahti).
Ray grew up in northern Quebec mining towns, spending most of his school years in Malardic and Val d’Or. Except for short stays in Montreal and Vancouver, Ray spent most of his work life in Northern BC and Yukon isolated communities managing retail businesses and training managers to replace him. He lived in places like Jedway, Old Crow and Faro. Cassiar, where he was nicknamed ‘PeeWee’, was his favorite town where he made lifelong friends and had a short married life with Charlene Rankin. At forty-nine, Ray made a lifestyle change and chose jobs free of stress. He truly enjoyed his highway flagging jobs, meeting travellers from all over the world. In his last decade Ray discovered a whole new challenge; minding and maintaining ‘Bear Creek’ float camps in isolated north coast settings.
Ray loved the north; its vast wilderness, its powerful beauty, its history and its people. He enjoyed paddling its remote rivers and built a wee Finnish style cabin above a moose crossing on the Dease River. Here he spent his summers and wintered in Prince Rupert when he wasn’t travelling! He was an insatiable traveller. There was always another place to explore and interesting people to learn from.
In this past year, aware of reoccurred cancer, Ray lived life to its fullest! He spent four months at his beloved cabin; renovating once again, splitting a years’ worth of firewood, tending to his raised bed garden, and reading dozens of books. He also discovered cruising, enjoying no less than four extended cruise trips that covered 17 countries, returning home from the Mediterranean only 20 days before his death in Prince Rupert. Newspapers, the CBC and the Economists accompanied Ray wherever he went even his last journey to the hospital.
Ray is survived by: his siblings Laila (Neil); Nancy; Julie (Warren) all of BC; Diane (Pat) of Calgary and; Ralph (Lise) of Malardic; his childhood friend Dennis Kirkwood, and his best friend and partner Shannon Mark and her family.
A Celebration of Life followed by the spreading of Ray’s ashes will take place at his cabin on the Dease River in the summer of 2013.
Ray was a gentleman and a scholar. He was a kind friend to all. He will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers please donate to The Senior Centre, Prince Rupert, BC.
Memorial gathering took place on Saturday, November 24 for 1 – 3 at the Crest Hotel, Prince Rupert.