WILCOX, Raymond Lee
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Raymond Lee Wilcox, 80, of Whittier, CA, passed away on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. He was born in Los Angeles on May 15th, 1932. Ray lived his entire life in Whittier. His formative years were spent at his family's home on Beverly Blvd, at the base of Turnbull Canyon, where he and his friends lived the best of an adventurous, rural boys life, with all the charm and qualities of small town America in the 1930's and 40's.
He loved radio, the mysteries, dramas, comedies, adventures, but was especially passionate about music. He took piano lessons, like so many kids of his generation, but because of his great love of the Big Band music he was hearing on the radio, and the jazzier pop tunes of the day, he found another reason to take piano more seriously. He became quite a good
stylized jazz player, incorporating boogie woogie, and later bebop into his style, and had his own small jazz combo. Always a handy tool at a party, and a good way to get the girls to notice you.
Ray attended Jonathan Bailey and Lou Henry Hoover Schools, Whittier High School, and Whittier College. It was at Whittier College that he met his sweetheart, the love of his life and future wife to be, Sally Sue Boyer, from Los Angeles. While working at the campus bookstore, "The Spot", Sally, who also loved Jazz, overheard Ray talking to some friends about going to the infamous jazz club "The Light House" in Hermosa Beach. Sally jumped into the conversation and this is where their relationship would begin.
Ray and Sally were married August 21st, 1954, and raised their family in East Whittier. Ray served in the Naval Reserve in Los Alamitos, for several of those early years, and became third generation in the family's Whittier business, B.L. Wilcox & Associates, manufacturer's representitives of architectural specialty products, as well as a tenant improvement contractor, installing modular offices in the expanding Southern California business community, including the coastal Naval bases and shipyards, and the bursting Aerospace, Computer, and Communications industries.
Ray enjoyed being involved and serving the community through the Lions Club, the Masons (where he later served as Master of Greenleaf Lodge in 1991), Scottish Rite, the Shriners, and the Royal Order of Jesters .
In Highschool, Ray drove a candy apple red 1940' Ford. He had always been a ?car guy', collecting, restoring and enjoying many classic vehicles and motorcycles over the years. He was an enthusiastic member of the Orange County based "California Roadsters" club, participating in roadster shows and many club runs over the years. He was also involved with motorcycles, including street, touring, classic British, and offroad dirt bikes, and participated in long distance motorcycle rallies with the various motorcycle clubs he was affiliated with.
As an active young family, Ray was instrumental in spearheading outdoor family getaways, including Southern California beach, desert and mountain camping, and family summers regularly spent on Lake Mojave, boating, waterskiing, and enjoying the family's large group of River friends. Many, many great family memories were made there.
Ray enjoyed participating and helping to coach the boy's Murphy Ranch Little League baseball teams, and was involved in the Boy Scout activities as well.
After their family was raised Ray and Sally embarked on a new chapter in their life, and would spend most weekends at their Moonridge mountaintop home in Big Bear, relaxing, reading, enjoying a glass of wine, appreciating nature, the lake, long walks, the stars at night, the local wildlife, and the charm of the Big Bear community.
Ray is predeceased by his parents, Burton and Nell and his sister Doris Nappier.
He is survived my his wife Sally, sons Buck (R.L. J) of Long Beach (wife Deborah, daughter Simonah), Evan (Larry) of Ukiah, CA (wife Suzy, daughters Emily and Marie Claire, son Raleigh, and great granddaughter, Dahlia), daughter Susan Nicholson of La Mirada (son in law Greg Nicholson, daughters Allie and Aimee), and his special dog girl and constant companion "Sissy".
Ray's Memorial Service will take place Friday, May 10th, 1:00 pm at Rose Hills, Skyrose Chapel, Main Gate.
Ray loved animals and contributed to many pet rescue organizations over the years. Donations can be made to Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Rd, Kanab, UT 84741 (435/644-2001) www.bestfriends.org
Published in Whittier Daily News from May 7 to May 9, 2013