Raymond (Ray) Roger Gagnon, 75, of Southampton, MA passed away suddenly on Sunday, November 15th 2020 near his home in Southampton.
A beloved husband and devoted father, he leaves his wife of 53 years and love of his life, Joan Gagnon. Ray and Joan met at the A&W Root Beer in Chicopee in 1963. Joan drove her new car into the parking lot and needed “help” parking, and that’s where their story began and the rest is history.
He is survived by his seven children Rob and Wayne Gagnon of Cape Coral Florida, Christopher and his wife Lianne Gagnon of Ludlow, MA, Daniel Gagnon and Morgan Proulx of Westfield, MA/Cape Coral, Florida, Matthew and his wife Rachael Gagnon of Southampton, MA/ Cape Coral Florida, Jocelyn and her husband Jason Polonsky of Westfield, MA, and Bryan and his wife Veronika Gagnon of Cape Coral, Florida.
He was the best Grandpa/Gramps/Papa to his 9 grandchildren- Ariana, Carissa, Angelina, Cutler, Braydon, Zelania, Lulani, Adeline and Kyson, and several grand pups who all loved and adored him. They all brought so much joy and smiles to his life and he really loved talking to them, teaching them about tools and yard work - instilling his hard work with them at a young age. It would fill your heart with so much joy to see the smile on Ray’s face when the younger grandkids would yell “GRAMPS!” or “PAPA!” the second he walked into the room.
Ray was born in Holyoke, MA and was predeceased by his mother Alice Gagnon (Angers), father Richard Gagnon and a brother Roger Gagnon. He leaves a brother Leonard and wife Mary Gagnon of Ludlow, MA as well as nieces and nephews.
Ray attended Precious Blood High school in Holyoke and then received degrees at Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst where he majored in Mathematics and minored in Computer Science. He also attended Rollins College while stationed in Florida. Ray was a U.S. Air force Veteran and was stationed at Patrick Air Force Base.
While serving his country and working towards his degree, Ray and Joan started to build their huge family where their first two children were born, Robert and Wayne in Cocoa Beach, FL.
He worked throughout his career as a Quality Assurance Manager for Avery Dennison of Holyoke, Scott Graphics in South Hadley and Big Y Supermarkets in Southampton. He enjoyed helping out at Party Patrol Rentals in Southampton, a Gagnon family business that three of his son’s, Danny, Bryan and Christopher started over 15 years ago. He was known for working the hardest and was given the nickname “MacGyver” by everyone because he could build and fix anything.
He spent the last several winters down in Florida with Joan and family enjoying some of their favorite places: the coffee shops, beaches, restaurants on the water and on his son’s boat…where his passion of fishing evolved. One of Ray’s favorites was a secluded island in Captiva, accessible only by boat where he enjoyed spending time with Joan and the family with a fishing pole in one hand and an ice cold Bud Light in the other.
He was the chef of regular Sunday dinners and many breakfasts at the Gagnon house where he cooked many of his signature, delicious spaghetti dinners, Bickford’s Baked Apple, Shepard’s pie, homemade Mac & Cheese, Pizza and the full course pancake breakfasts.
The family will forever cherish the special holidays and countless celebrations. The most special is the many years of wonderful Christmases growing up with the house filled with family, food, joy, laughter, love, excitement and presents around the beautiful brick fireplace he built with Joan in their family room. Ray enjoyed building many things but that fire place was extra special. Joan hand selected each and every brick and handed to Ray as he built the fireplace and expanded their house to fit their growing family 38 years ago, with 5 children at the time including a newborn. While working full time, Ray managed to remodel the entire house inside and out, added a second floor, a family room and a garage.
They spent many summers with family and childhood friends packing up the “Gagnon Wagon” to camp and visit Hampton Beach, NH. Ray was known for eating an entire pound of penuche walnut fudge on the drive home. The Gagnon Wagon was also filled up many times with childhood friends to go to the theater for movie nights.
He was the most supportive and best fan in the stands alongside Joan at all of his children’s’ sporting and dance events throughout their childhood where they never missed a game, recital or competition. No game or tournament was ever too far for them to attend. Their endless support continued into adult leagues with basketball, softball and most of all, indoor soccer. They were All Sports’ #1 Party Patrol Soccer Fans. Sometimes the place was packed but there were several late night games on Friday nights at 11PM where they would come watch and literally be the only two fans in the bleachers. After the games, Ray and Joan enjoyed going out to dinner and drinks with the entire team out to Fitzwilly’s. The countless love and support continued as Ray and Joan most recently enjoyed attending some of the grandkids’ hockey and soccer games.
Ray thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his family, going on cruises, playing cornhole, poker, shooting pool and catching the latest sports on TV. Many family friends always looked at him as “one of the guys”, telling a story, always providing great advice and a quick witted joke to share. Don’t try to get one of your own in though, he would call you out quickly and ask “are you funning me?”
He was so handy and talented and enjoyed building things around the house for Joan and completed countless construction projects for all of his kids. Whether it was building a staircase, hanging a picture or cabinets on the wall, or making the perfect windows, doors and trim for Joan - Ray cut down trees, sent them to the sawmill and hand crafted every window, door, and trim in the newly remodeled house to get things just right and the way he wanted it. With Dad, there was only one way… the “Ray Way” and that meant perfection, he would get it absolutely “perfy” as he would joke. He was meticulous, his focus and attention to detail was like no other.
Ray will forever be known and remembered as “The Legend” as he was the perfect combination of a hard worker, big hearted, hilarious, and talented, but a kind and caring man who could do it all and would do anything for anyone with no hesitation.
His gentle smile, calm demeanor, family oriented but tough as nails drive touched so many lives and will be terribly missed by all who knew him.
While Ray planted and grew the most gorgeous, thriving flowers outside of his home every Spring- in Lieu of flowers, he would have liked donations to be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where his pacemaker was originally provided to him which helped Ray enjoy so many ‘extra’ wonderful years with his family.
Calling hours will be at Mitchell Funeral Home in Easthampton, MA from 4-7 PM on Monday, November 23rd. Christian Mass will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at Our Lady of the Valley Parish at 10am, followed by a Burial at Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley, MA.
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