Stephen Ray

Stephen Robert Ray

Saturday, September 3rd, 1955 - Monday, September 21st, 2020
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WATERBURY- Stephen Robert Ray, 65, passed away at home on September21, 2020, after battling cancer for a year and a half. He was stalwart in his desire to beat the odds which he did by many months.

Steve was born on September 3, 1955 to Robert G and Carol Ray (nee Coleman) in Harrisburg, PA and spent his boyhood years in Monroe and Danbury, Ct. He went on to become a carpenter and stair builder for many years. Steve married the love of his life, JoAnn Benedict, on Jan 3, 2004 and they made their home in Waterbury, CT.

Steve's life was transformed in 1999 when he embraced AA and the loving and generous people who supported him in his recovery. He found his life again, his family, his voice, his wonderful sense of humor, his quick wit, his passion for historical novels and classical/country music and with the support of JoAnn, the will and confidence to pursue his painting career as a professional artist. He established "Barns by Stephen Ray/' in 2008 and travelled extensively up and down the eastern seaboard displaying his inspired view of a disappearing way of life. Steve was a most sensitive and generous person, easily donating to people and causes he deemed in need; fellow artists, AA and anyone who might cross his path including of the four-legged variety. Steve was a gregarious person too, really the life of the party and adept at kindly putting others at ease. He had a lot of love and empathy in his big heart having faced adversity in his life as well as a strong ethical sense that could bring out the papa bear in him. Steve could come to tears easily over both joy and grief. We will always miss him and are grateful for the gift of his presence in our lives. One of the high points of Steve's life was being an uncle to his many nieces and nephews. Just being called Uncle Steve melted his heart. Family meant everything to Steve.

Left to honor Steve’s love and legacy, is his beloved wife JoAnn, his brother Jim Wilkinson-Ray and sons Tyler and Elliot, sister Barbara Ray and her son, Julian, sister Linda Ray, husband Robert Bergman and daughter Chloe and husband Jon Ander and brother David Ray and his children Mackenzie and Haley. He is also survived by brothers in law, Gary Benedict, wife to be Laura and his children Josiah, Lydia, Gabe and Andre, Michael Benedict and his children Veronica and Francis and Rico Donaglia, wife Beth and children Colten, Shianne, Kiley, Zac and Mandy. He leaves long-time friends Art, Terry, Kailynn, Emily and Olivia Anderson of Ct, Michael Ward of CA, Baird Barsumian of Cape Cod and so many friends in the fellowship.

Steve’s family wishes to thank the staff of St Mary's Hospital, Dr Jabbour, his wife Dada, and nurse, Arminda, Dr McDonald, Dr. Silverman, Dr. Ravalese and staff.

A celebration of life gathering will be held in the future. To honor Stephen’s memory and in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Harold Leever Cancer Center, 1075 Chase Parkway Waterbury CT 06708. Casey’s Eastside Memorial Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been honored to assist the Ray family.
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Rose Lindstrom

Posted at 07:41am
Always think of Steve in the way he brought joy into JoAnn's life & heart and that same love can be seen thruout his artwork. this article was published in a Waterbury paper back around 2011 (?). Tells a nice story, but, it's only one of the many that can be narrated when it comes to Steve's life.

JoAnn Ray Posted at 08:49pm

Oh, I have't seen this article in a while-thank you Rose and Erik for your love and support of Steve and his artwork, you were faithful visitors at many shows!

Barbara Ray

Posted at 04:15pm
Steve always loved elephants and I think of them as portraying the wisdom and integrity of the earth; Steve had alot of that too. You gave our family so much connectivity and I will miss you dearly. I'll envision your spirit floating everywhere in nature, in all the things you loved and portrayed in your art.

Posted at 10:19am
Jo I remember being so happy for you when you met this shy, kind and wickedly funny man. It was obvious, the love you shared. I will all remember his sense of humor and the laughs we had over his trips to Northern Exposure. I love you Jo and you are in my thoughts and prayers 💕.

JoAnn Ray Posted at 02:38pm

Thanks for the fun memories of our trips to the reservation and the look of disbelief on Steve's face, as he laughed and said "this really is "Northern Exposure"!!

Gabriel Benedict

Posted at 04:07pm
Uncle Steve was an incredible artist, a jokester, and an all around vessel of joy. He was the life of the party and could put a smile on anyone's face. I was in awe of his talent and beyond proud of the recognition he received for it.

Cancer stinks and rears its ugly head in the most undeserving of ways. I will miss you Uncle Steve and I'll keep my eyes open for your signs ✌️💚

And yes Steve, I am still listening to Zebrahead.

JoAnn Ray Posted at 02:36pm

Gabe I/we were so happt that you were living in Stamford for some of Uncle Steve's shows! Right downtown easy to visit with your buddies, you were all new with PWC! Those were fun days.

JoAnn Ray

Posted at 03:52pm
Some photos above are Steve with all brothers and sisters on the sled, Steve and is Mom as a little guy, Steve and his Dad as a teen, all of us brothers, sisters, Steve and i in Belize. Our Wedding photo, and some of Steve's artwork and awards!

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