Raymond S. Cunliffe, BASc P. Eng, was born to Sydney and Euphemia Cunliffe. He was the younger brother of Jeanne Moutrie and Joseph Cunliffe. He attended high school in Smithers playing baseball, hockey and basketball as a team member of the Newitka Six. Canada's entry into World War II came 5 days after Ray's 15th birthday. Leaving a note for his father, he hid out hoping to catch the morning train to enlist. But he was caught and made to promise to finish at least one year at the University of British Columbia. At UBC, Ray joined the RCAF four months prior to the end of his first year and his adventures in Flying School are best described as a series of close calls while piloting Anson bombers. Ray was awarded his "Wings" in late 1944 and once word reached Berlin, the Axis forces capitulated. With few openings for bomber pilots, Ray re-enrolled at UBC in the Engineering Class of '49 marking the beginning of an illustrious career as a Professional Engineer. Ray would make it through in the regulation four years but not without the stabilizing influence of a young lady, Doris Palmer who he would wed on December 20, 1946. Ray was the President of the Class of '49 and would preside over many reunions. From 1950 - 1960, he worked for the BC Department of Public Works rising to the Regional Engineer presiding over northern BC. These assignments took the Cunliffes and their young sons to Williams Lake, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Prince George. After leaving the Highways Department, Ray worked in Edmonton before moving his family to Tsawwassen in 1963 where he and Doris would reside for the rest of their lives. As Municipal Administrator of Delta, he oversaw much of the development of his new home. Ray joined the Beach Grove Golf Club, where he would serve on the Board and as President. In 1971, Ray joined his brother Joe at Willis, Cunliffe & Tait, opening the New Westminster office and eventually rising to President in 1982. During this period, he was the President of the Public Works Association of BC and the President of the BC Association of Professional Engineers. WCT later merged with Delcan and by 1983 Ray had become a member of the Board responsible for Delcan's contracting worldwide. At the age of 65, he retired to care for Doris who had contracted cancer in the previous year. Ray and Doris were always delighted by their grandchildren who they lived to see become successful adults. They have now rejoined one another and are survived by their sons, Harold (Karen) Cunliffe, Dave (Heather) Cunliffe, Pemme Muir Cunliffe, who was to become a daughter to them, grandchildren Ray (Cristina) Cunliffe, Jennifer (Matt) Cunliffe, Graham (Samantha) Cunliffe, Alexandra Cunliffe, Joseph Cunliffe and great-grandchildren Alison, Ashlyn, Finn, Amelia and Jack. They also leave behind scores of relatives, friends and colleagues who are invited to celebrate Ray's life at the Beach Grove Golf Club on Sunday, November 17th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Ray's name to the bursary fund established by his UBC Civil Engineering Class of '49 by visiting www.supporting.ubc.ca/raymondcunliffe.
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Published in The Delta Optimist from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2013