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Ray Carol Margaret Peruso Griffin

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Ray Carol Margaret Peruso GRIFFIN Ray Carol Margaret Peruso Griffin of Bellevue passed away in her sleep at home after a valiant battle with the disease ALS on April 17, 2011. She was 76 years old. It is ironic as ALS is also known as Lou Gerhrig's Disease, a Yankee great, and it was Ray Carol and her father who would go watch the Yankees on Sunday afternoons. Ray Carol was born on Christmas Day in 1934 in New York City, New York, the daughter of Bernard Peruso and Nancy Leone Peruso. Ray literally grew up on the streets of New York City living in modest surroundings with her family. As noted, Ray would attend Sunday Yankees games with her father and play in the street. It was during this time that Ray truly gained her 'street smarts', something that would stay with her all her life. After high school, Ray went to work for a number of financial institutions, however it was her love of music and dancing that provided her inspiration during this time, the 1950s. A true lover of the 'big band sound' and swing music, Ray would be out all hours of the night enjoying the music and dancing. Ray could also be seen from time to time in Havana enjoying the nightlife there as well. Toward the end of this time, Ray met the love of her life, George Griffin. After dating for quite awhile, Ray and George were married on October 12, 1962. Shortly thereafter, Ray started on three journeys in life; a journey across the country from New York City to the Midwest to San Francisco and then ultimately Seattlea journey of being a wonderful wife and partner to George and dedicated mother to her children..and a journey of developing deep life-long relationships with all who entered her life. Ray's journey across the country was a whirlwind tour for a 'city girl', starting with a move in 1963 to St. Louis where daughter Nancy was born, and then to Chicago in 1965 where son Geoffrey was born. The whirlwind continued in 1967 with a move to San Francisco, and at that point, this New York City girl could not have been any geographically farther away from 'the City'. Ray and George settled down in for the next 8 years in the Bay Area. Ray loved the beautiful weather in Marin County and for the first time grew tomatoes, roses, lemons and fell in love with gardening. She also discovered the gorgeous natural wonders of Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and the family spent many vacations and holidays celebrating there. Yet another career opportunity brought Ray and George to Seattle in 1975. Now Ray was not only as geographically far away as she could be from New York, but she was now in the small city of Bellevue. It was quite common during this time that Ray's relatives would call and joke about the 'farm' Ray lived on in Seattle. Ray handled this move as she handled most things in life, with perseverance, tenacity and courage. These three attributes were key to who Ray was, and all that knew her know just how much this is true. Interestingly, Seattle became Ray's final resting spot where she created a wonderful life for herself, George and the kids. Ray loved her house and also created a beautiful home in Seattle, one that she openly shared with all the terrific people that she met and befriended. Through the years, it was Ray who was always at George's side, whether it be for business or pleasure, supporting her husband in a very special way. Ray was always an asset to his business success. Ray could always be seen during these years at Geoffrey's sporting events, supporting him in a way that only an 'Italian Mom' could and doing whatever she could to support Nancy at Law School. In addition, Ray could always be found supporting her friends and fellow members of the Rainier Club, a special place that Ray would frequent quite often all the way up to her passing. Ray is survived by her daughter Nancy and her husband Allan Anderson along with their dogs living in La Canada Flintridge, CA, and her son Geoffrey and new wife Lori and his two children Graham and Hannah in Snoqualmie, WA. Ray is also survived by her brother Bernard Peruso Jr. and his family of Pennsylvania as well as an extended family in California and throughout the East coast. Ray will always be remembered for her spirit, sense of humor and New York accent. Ray was always engaging and outgoing and made friends wherever she went. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday May 21, 2011 at 12:00 PM at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina. A reception will follow in the Church's Great Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: ALS Foundation, Evergreen Chapter, 6627 South 191st Place, Suite F-106, Kent, WA 98032.
Published in The Seattle Times from May 13 to May 15, 2011
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