January 4, 1951 – April 25, 2020. Dates measure only the beginning and end of our lives. What is important is what we do with the dash. The dash is who we are, our essence and substance and what we accomplish. It defines our hopes, dreams, loves, family and friendships. Following is some of what Ray did with the dash.

January 4, 1951 – April 25, 2020.  Dates measure only the beginning and end of our lives. What is important is what we do with the dash. The dash is who we are, our essence and substance and what we accomplish. It defines our hopes, dreams, loves, family and friendships. Following is some of what Ray did with the dash.

Ray was set free, at the age of 69, to join his loved ones in heaven following a courageous battle with ALS. Born in Bath, NY, the son of DeWitt G. Pickering, Sr and Jewell M. (Judy) Pickering. He grew up at the family home on Harrisburg Hollow Road where many hours were spent roaming the fields, playing baseball, riding bike and just being an all round active kid.

He attended both Haverling and Prattsburg Schools and played football and varsity wrestling at Haverling. Always a lover of fast cars, his pride in high school was his 1965 Mustang which he unfortunately totaled one night on Robins Road. He soon replaced it with a Ford Fairlane that he souped up and painted candy apple red. A bit of a wild child, he loved to have fun and may have been the reason Mom’s hair turned white.

Ray’s first job was working on the Robins’ farm on Harrisburg Hollow. He then went to work at Bennett’s Service Station and Bennett’s Collision. A little later, he decided to follow his father’s footsteps and attended Alfred State College where he studied commercial refrigeration and air conditioning. After college he went to work for a company in Elmira for a couple of years before becoming a technician and repairman for the P&C food chain. After several years with P&C he decided to start his own business -R.P.R. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. Ray was highly successful and his services were in great demand throughout the state. He was a hard worker, knowledgeable and reasonable. He continued to work until his diagnosis of ALS last June. 

Ray purchased several acres of land in Wheeler and built a beautiful home. He had dreams of becoming a small fruit farmer after retirement and planted two apple orchards and raspberries. The fourth of July was his favorite holiday and he invited all family, friends and neighbors for a picnic and huge fireworks display.

Harley motorcycles were his second love and he owned several throughout the years. He said, “riding sets me free.” Ray attended bike week in Daytona for many years and last fall finally made it to Sturgis. His last big ride. He also loved music. Country Western was his favorite particularly Garth Brooks. He also enjoyed the Eagles, Lead Zeppelin, Bad & Co, The Rolling Stones and All Man Brothers. The louder the music the better and he loved to sing along. He attended many concerts the last one was ZZ Top with his daughter in September.

Throughout his illness, Ray never lost his since of humor. He was a caring man who loved spending time with his family and friends. Especially his bike riding friends. Ray will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Hope they have Harleys in heaven.

Ray is survived by his greatest love, his daughter, Cassandra Pickering, Long Island and Bath. Sister Linda Pickering, Bath. Beloved niece, Christine Hann-Laros (Steve) and their children Penelope, Hazel and James. Cousins, Margaret Lyke, James Young and Alison Kowalski, great and great-great nieces and nephews and many, many close friends. 

In addition to his parents he was predeceased by his fiancé Debbie Hyer. Brothers Don, Keith and Truman Haley and Dewitt G. Pickering, Jr. Several cousins and a niece and nephew.

Special thanks to a great friend, John Loza who came every morning for several months to get him out of bed. Barb and Bob Flo for all their help and support. Mark and Patsy Deserio, Emmett Smith, Tom Hargraves and Grant who visited throughout his illness. The staff of VNA and Care First for all the help and support they gave to Ray and his family.

Arrangements are with LaMarche Funeral Home. There will be a memorial service held at a later date when isolation has ended. In lieu of flowers, those wishing can make a donation to the ALS Association of Upstate New York, Care First or a charity of your choice.