JONES, Raymond John passed peacefully in Hamilton surrounded by family Thursday, July 22, 2021. He would have been 87 this coming September 19 and he made every year of his life count!
Survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Patricia (nee White), daughters Janice (Jim) and Jodi (Mark), grandchildren Kirsten (Renzo), Braden (Sharie), Cameron (Dana) and great-granddaughter Layla, the bright light that kept him smiling these last eight months. Many of you cannot imagine baby talk and gentleness coming from this giant man but with Layla he became a much softer version of himself.
Ray was a "what you see is what you get" guy. Kind-hearted, sometimes irascible, he'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. His contributions to sports and sporting people locally, nationally and internationally are numerous. He was counted as a friend by many.
Ray was never one to sit still. He volunteered locally with the Aerovox hockey team as a teen then with the Smart Cleaners team of the Big 4 Fastball League. There is a famous photo of him breaking up a fight at Victoria Park in Hamilton - famous to us as it had a prominent spot on the wall behind the bar in the basement of our house. He worked in the machine shop at Dofasco for almost 25 years and after a work injury sent him to a desk job, he returned to Sheridan College to get his Athletic Therapy and Management diploma. He continued to volunteer after graduation as an athletic therapist with the Hamilton Kilty B's junior hockey team, the Mohawk College girls' basketball team coached by Earl Begg, CANUSA, Steel City Bowl, HABA and any other sports teams that needed assistance. He also worked with many high school and college athletes to help them recover from sports related injuries - all on his own time with an eye to teaching them how to take care of their own injuries.
In 1972 he accepted the athletic therapist position with the Canadian Men's National Basketball Team and travelled the world competing in pre-Olympic tournaments finishing at the Hamilton tournament held at McMaster University. Then it was on to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal! So many red and white articles of clothing. He continued with the basketball team until the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were boycotted. He then took the head trainer job with the Hamilton Tiger Cats and his wardrobe went from red and white to black and gold. He worked with the Cats until 1996 and was well respected by everyone. The heart of a teddy bear with a gruff exterior, he was often involved in practical jokes in the locker room. He loved the CFL and the Hamilton Tiger Cats and continued to go to every game, sitting in the press box with the coaches and other luminaries until 2019.
In 2007 we watched him get inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame with the 1976 Senior Men's Olympic Team. We were so proud of him and enjoyed watching his reunion with many of the 1976 players that he hadn't seen in years.
A memorial gathering will be scheduled at a later date when COVID restrictions allow us all to get together and celebrate Ray in a manner he would appreciate.
Published in The Hamilton Spectator on Jul. 24, 2021.