Raymond T. VanBruwaene, our beloved “Bumpa”, passed away peacefully on August 23, 2018 surrounded by his family. He was 80.
Ray was born February 19, 1938 in Peoria, IL to Remi VanBruwaene and Mary Saelens. He attended Bradley University and while on a blind date, met the love of his life, Connie Onderko. They married in 1960 and began their family that grew into 5 children.
Ray was employed in the transportation industry at a young age, beginning his career in Peoria before being transferred to Moline, IL Cincinnati, Dallas, and ultimately Seattle. In Seattle, he was employed for 28 years with Airborne Express and was instrumental in the growth of the company into the 3rd largest air express company in the USA. Ray retired in 2000 as Executive Vice President of Operations.
Ray and Connie raised their family on Mercer Island for 46 years, where they shared many fond memories with family and friends. Ray’s biggest joy was his family. He cherished family time, including our annual pilgrimages to Cannon Beach, Oregon. When asked about his retirement years, Ray would smile and state he helped raise his grandchildren and was often seen attending their school and sporting activities.
He is survived by his wife Connie of 59 years; his son Mike VanBruwaene (Monica) of Phoenix; his daughters in the Seattle area- Debbie Watt, Susie Chandler, Karen McAvinew, Kelly Brin; and his adoring grandchildren Ellie Watt, Sydney McAvinew, Katie Watt, Michael VanBruwaene and Natalie Brin.
Ray was our family patriarch and greatest advocate. His larger than life personality and great sense of humor will be dearly missed, especially at family gatherings that he always made so special.
A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, 4315 88th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA on October 22, 2018 at 11 am. Reception will immediately follow.
The family thanks EvergreenHealth Hospice who provided care and compassion during Ray’s final days. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice c/o EvergreenHealth Foundation – 12040 NE 128th St. MS #5, Kirkland, WA 98034-3098; 425-899-1900.