September 20, 1930 – February 1, 2023
In Loving Memory ~
He was our dear father, papa, great-papa and friend to many. Ray was born on September 20, 1930, in Prince George, BC, and passed away on February 1, 2023, in Terrace, BC, after a short illness.
Predeceased by his loving wife Colleen in 2004, by sisters Beth, Pearl and Bernice and parents Ernest and Edna, Ray was the last of his generation.
Ray is survived by son Ernie (Diane), daughter Patricia (Bruce) and son Alan, grandsons Daniel (Laura), Christopher (Leah), Jeffrey (Tania) and Stephen (Jane), as well as great-grandchildren June, Collin, Brody, Carter and Margot. He will be missed by all of us.
Ray came to Terrace in 1944 as a teenager with his family to work in the forest industry and, as many of his generation did, left school early to work in steam-powered sawmills at Vanarsdol and Old Remo.
Ray soon met the love of his life, Colleen, and they were married in 1949 and started their family shortly thereafter. Ray and his father Ernie purchased Giggey’s sawmill at the location of the present-day Sande Street overpass in 1950, and eventually, the mill was converted from steam to electricity when Alcan came to the area with hydropower.
Ray and his father continued to operate Sande Lumber Mills until 1966 when the business was sold. The Sande family spent the next few years at Lakelse Lake and Ray kept busy building shops, boats and a hanger for his airplane.
In the early 1950’s Ray developed an interest in aviation as a hobby and bought his first of many airplanes. This turned into a life-long passion as the post-sawmill years first brought a couple of years as a commercial pilot for Trans-Provincial Airlines in Terrace in the late 1960’s before buying BC Yukon Air Service Ltd. In Watson Lake, Yukon in 1971.
Ray spent the next 18 years flying bush planes throughout the north. The Sande family ran the air service out of bases at Watson Lake and Dease Lake BC until 1989 when the business was sold and Ray and Colleen retired back to Terrace.
They soon purchased property at Lakelse Lake again and Ray started working on renovating the cabin and building another hanger for his airplane and many summers were spent at the lake property.
As luck would have it, the grandchildren had already started to arrive. The next years were spent surrounded by family and enjoying retirement, especially when taking the grandsons on fly-in camping and fishing trips throughout northern BC.
Ray was always a fixer and fabricator and as the grandchildren grew so did the projects. Ray and his grandsons built or rebuilt a couple of boats, a whipper-snipper powered scooter, a full suspension bicycle, a pickup truck, a dune buggy, and fixed or built many other contraptions and gadgets, most containing aircraft parts. There wasn’t anything that Ray couldn’t build or fix. Even in his later years, Ray kept busy on his woodworking, welding and metal fabricating projects, was about to get started on building another boat when he fell ill.
The family would like to thank all of the staff at Mills Memorial Hospital for the excellent care Ray received during his stay.
At Ray’s request there will be no funeral service, although the family may hold a memorial at a later date.
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