Benny "Ray" Red - age: 87
(December 03, 1935 to September 28, 2023
If you have a “I’m a Ray Red’s fishing Buddy” t-shirt please wear it (if it’s too small, safety pin it to another t-shirt), fishing, hunting or military wear, jeans and red suspenders or any other clothing casual or dress you feel comfortable in.
Friends and family are invited to calling hours and reception from 11am-1pm on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at Dennett, Craig and Pate Funeral Home, 13 Portland Road, Buxton. Burial with military honors to follow at Meeting House Hill Cemetery, River Road, Hollis.
In lieu of flowers please give to any veterans organization, preservation land for fishing, or other organization you feel Ray would smile and be happy with.
After several frustrating years when his mind and body wouldn’t let him, Ray Red is back fishing again.
No one ever loved fishing more. It was his second favorite thing. What was first? Well, we all spent the last 30 or so Thanksgivings together as his extended family grew to include four grandchildren. Each year we’d hold hands and go around the table where anyone could offer thanks for…anything. Ray always went first. He was no poet. He didn’t embellish. He wasn’t creative. But he was clear: “I’m thankful for my family.” We all feel the same.
Benny “Ray” Red was born on December 3, 1935, in Miami, Oklahoma. He died on September 28, 2023, in Saco, Maine. In between, there was a lot of fishing and a lot of family. Today the fish in Maine are breathing easier. We, on the other hand, will miss him.
He graduated from Commerce High School several years after a slightly more famous graduate, Mickey Mantle. Ray loved to tell stories and some of them were true. He often told of being in a local bar one off season with Mickey and Billy Martin. Billy went to use the men’s room and an excited patron stopped him to ask breathlessly, “is that who I think it is?”
“Yeah, that’s ol” Ray Red.”
He entered the Army shortly thereafter. Soon he met Diane Drew of Hollis, Maine, who was also in the Army. They married in 1957 and had three children in various parts of the world. The Army moved them from France to Virginia, to Germany, back to Virginia. He served. Like all military families, they moved where orders moved them. It’s not glamorous, but it’s important. Ray served one wartime year in theater in Vietnam. After twenty years he retired as Master Sergeant. No one was ever prouder to talk of his service.
He was a long-time member of the American Legion and volunteered there in many ways including with a program which provided fishing opportunities for wounded veterans called Back in the Maine Stream (BITMS). No program could have been better suited to Ray’s particular passions.
He retired from the Portland Press Herald in data processing after 20 years where he met friends who fished, hunted, camped and played cards with him over all these years.
And then there was family. Ray struggled with alcohol during the first half of his life but, we’re happy to report, quit completely for the second half which included all of the years his beloved grandchildren knew him. He’d do anything for them. We have so many great stories and so do they. And his name kept morphing as each new one came along and wrestled with the name “grandpa.” He was Grumpy and Ba-ah and Bupah. Regardless of the name each used, Ray would drop everything and drive anywhere at anytime if one of them asked. They often did.
Ray fished a lot, never missing opening day regardless of the weather. He’d take anyone who asked and he’d do everything for them, outfitting them with gear, tying their fly, coaching them. After each outing his guest left with a prize: a custom t-shirt reading, “I’m Ray Red’s Fishing Buddy”.
Ray was predeceased by his parents Charles Red and Willie Mullen and all his siblings Charles Jr., Lenora, Loretta, Leonard and Don.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Diane, his three children Pat Red (Paul Hunt), Richard Red and Wynn Red and his four grandchildren Resa Redhunt, Allyson Redhunt (Shane Stevens), Nathaniel Red and Jenny Pinkelman.