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1920 Raymond 2020

Raymond L. Willard

June 7, 1920 — November 13, 2020

Raymond Lewis “Ray” Willard passed away into the grace of the Lord on November 13, 2020, at his home in Venice, FL. He was 100 years old.

Born on June 7, 1920, Raymond was the son of Charles Frederick and Mabel Del Willard. His father died when Ray was 15 years old, and his mother married Harold Barrett thereafter. He had an older brother, Charles, and a stepsister, Mary.

Ray graduated from high school in Endicott, NY, and became a bank clerk until he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, in 1941. He trained on the super-secret Norden Bombsight in Deming NM, and the highly secretive radar school in Boca Raton, FL. Ray served our country as a bombardier flying both the B-29 and the B-17 in the South Pacific, and earned an Air Medal for his service. He was on the last flight over Tokyo, and only upon his return to base did he and his fellow airmen learn that the Japanese had surrendered. Ray went on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC, with other veterans a few years ago, and was a lifelong member of the Venice VFW. He was invited to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, DC, but declined in order to be buried next to his first wife, Alma.

During his posting in New Mexico, Ray married Alma Louise Johnson, in August 1943. After the war, Ray and Alma lived in Endicott, and later moved to Norwich, NY, where Ray was an auditor for the National Bank & Trust of Norwich (now, NBT Bank). He later owned Norwich Candy, a candy distribution company. Alma’s died in 1981 at the young age of 60.

Ray later married Betty Louise Davis Edwards, and they lived at Chenango Lake until moving to Venice, FL. Ray was a beloved member of Betty’s family, always putting up with the roar that accompanied Betty’s five adult children, spouses, and grandchildren. Never one to sit still, Ray worked part-time delivering flowers on holidays with his smile and banter, bringing cheer to many people.

After Betty’s death in 2003, Ray married Constance Frink Pinney, in 2007, and remained in Venice until his death. Connie had three adult children and grandchildren. So, again, Ray had a lot of activity in his life, even from afar.

In addition to his parents, and his wives, Alma and Betty, and Connie, Ray was predeceased by his brother, Charles, his step-sister, Mary, step-brother, Weller, and his niece, Janet. He is survived by nieces, Veronica Willard Scott and Vickie Willard Yarwood; nephew, Charles Willard III; Betty’s children, Stanley, William, Thomas, and Polly Edwards, and Linda Prehn; Connie’s daughter, Tara Pinney; and granddaughters, Siobhan McKinnon and Katie. Ray is also survived by many members of his step-children’s families.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at Mt. Hope Cemetery, where the Chaplain of the Norwich VFW Post 2782, Lex Danyluk, will officiate.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Raymond L. Willard, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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