Raymond Oscar Tewksbury, 84, of Claremont, NH, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. He was born in Cornish, NH, on August 7, 1937, a son of Paul and Isabella (Clow) Tewksbury. Following graduation from Windsor (VT) High School, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Clay. They were married 52 years prior to Shirley’s passing in 2008.
Ray spent the majority of his working life as a route sales vendor, bringing product and his smile to stores around NH and VT. Whether it was with Wonder Bread, Stateline Potato Chips, or Koffee Kup Bakery, he delivered more than food as his positivity brought sunshine on the cloudiest day into these stores. He was beloved by all those who met him. Ray saw the glass half full in life finding goodness in every person he met. He was a man of principles who lived his life believing that people needed to be respected and cared for and that family was the center of everything.
Ray was immensely proud of his homestead on Twistback Road in Claremont, where he lived most of his adult life (63 years) and where he and Shirley raised their family. It was not the house or land but the memories that were created over time there. He welcomed every person into his home and many, many more people, in addition to his children, called him “Dad” and loved to come to his home. For decades he hosted an annual horseshoe tournament where dozens of friends and family members gathered. And he loved going to fishing camp in Pittsburg (NH) each fall.
When not at home Ray enjoyed traveling over the years, especially to the Caribbean islands with Shirley. They also loved spending their winters in Florida where they enjoyed the warmth of sun and their friends. It was here where he met Rachel Lewis, who he befriended following the loss of Shirley, and was a dear companion to him for ten years prior to her passing in 2019.
The surviving family includes his son, Steven and his wife, Karen, of Nelson; Donna McNeil and her husband, Michael, of Claremont; Michael and his wife, Rhonda, of Charlestown; Gregg and his wife, Julie, of Keene, and Daniel and his wife, Lauren, of Chester (NH); 15 Grandchildren, 13 great-Grandchildren and one great-great-Granddaughter; his sister, Josephine Jewell of Cornish; and his sister-in-law Carol Norton and her husband Dennis of Claremont. In addition to his wife and parents, Ray was predeceased by his sister Elsie Johnson and his brothers, Rowland, Eugene, Louis (Pit), and Tharon; and his grandchildren, Drew Tewksbury, and William (Billy) Dufour.
Stringer Funeral Home of Claremont has been entrusted with the arrangements. Calling hours will be Sunday, January 9, 2022 between 1pm and 4pm and all friends and family are welcome. Masks are required. A Celebration of Life will be arranged in the spring of 2022. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Cheshire Medical Center, 580 Court Street, Keene, NH 03431.
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