Raymond E. Darrah

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World War II Veteran, Raymond E. Darrah, 96, from Ravenna, OH and long time former resident of Friendswood, TX born in 1923 in Akron, OH, ascended to his heavenly home on Monday, May 4, 2020. He is preceded in death by his adoring and devoted wife of 53 years, Diane C. Darrah, his son, Gerald “Jerry” A. Darrah, his beloved mother, Grace Bauer Darrah, his father, Charles M. Darrah, brothers, Eddie, Warren, and Russel, as well as his sister, Virie Willoughby. Ray is survived by his daughter, Cindy K. Koncaba, formally of Friendswood TX and currently from Tavernier, FL. He also leaves behind his sister, Louise V. Harsha of Apple Valley, CA. Other survivors include his five grandchildren: Jeremy, Krystal, Richard, Kristen and Matthew along with four great grandchildren: Kylee, Jason, Brandon and Andrew, as well as many nieces and nephews. WHAT A LIFE!! Ray was a World War II Veteran and served under General Patton. He earned the World War II Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Eame Medal with 2 bronze stars. He was in the Battle of the Bulge. Ray was very badly injured in Germany. He was returned to a San Francisco Hospital where he spent two long years recovering. He would say, “I gave half my body…..”. He believed in God and would say, “God brought me back to take care of my mom”. Included in all his injuries, Ray lived the rest of his life from the age of 21 not being able to bend his left leg due to it being fused at the knee. But that didn’t stop him… Following the war, he was actively involved in our nation’s early rocket program at Edward’s Air Force Base in California (Watch, The Right Stuff. Note the bar at the beginning of the movie). He even met Chuck Yeager. He later transferred to NASA as a Radar Technician to where NASA sent him all over the United States. He greatly contributed for many years to the Apollo and Skylab Space Programs. He retired from NASA after 25 years at the age of 50, and soon after he and his wife moved to the Florida Keys. He and his wife cleaned up the lot they had purchased on the corner of two canals, planted various palm trees including Malaysian and Christmas Palms, plus banana, Key lime and mango trees, ect., before proudly designing and building his third home that would “……..withstand a category 4 Hurricane”, as Ray would proudly say. Ray enjoyed a “good cigar” as well as a Whiskey Sour or a cold Budweiser in the evenings. Cherry pies were his favorite in which Diane would make for him often. He loved all his animals including his German Shepherds and his two Alaskan Huskies, Boo 1 and Boo 2. He, along with his cherished wife, traveled throughout the country many times over the years including their favorite state of Alaska which they visited a total of nine times in their travel trailer enjoying the scenic nature and beauty. Ray would say, “Diane and I wouldn’t talk about it, WE DID IT!”, referring to their active lives together. He was definitely a go getter, an outdoorsman and a hard worker all his life. He built three houses as well as three sailboats. He was a personal pilot and owned his own plane which he enjoyed flying. He enjoyed traveling on road trips with his children, sailing and fishing with his family out of Kemah and Galveston TX. He also enjoyed vegetable gardening, tending to his rose bushes, firing up his smoker and barbecue pit, as well as his enjoying fishing trips with his NASA buddies. He was also a Ham Operator as well as a Scuba Diver where he would often dive and snorkel with his wife off their boat in the Florida Keys. He enjoyed cooking and invented his own personal Pinto Bean recipe in which he was very proud of and that his family would enjoy over the years. He had a great sense of humor as well as a great smile which made you feel that everything would be ok. He had an underlying loving heart. Over the years, he would steadfastly on a weekly basis call his mother on Saturdays and would often provide for her generously. He also adopted and raised his two children Jerry and Cindy. He could fix ANYTHING as referenced by many. Growing up, he worked as a caddy at a golf course “…..earning five cents an hour”, as well as working on local farms. In his youth, his mother, siblings and friends called him Ducky. Ray would say, “Nobody ever gave me anything”. He was TRULY a self made successful man. It’s been said often, “He is the toughest man I ever met!” So true. Ashes of both Raymond and his wife Diane along with their two Alaskan Huskies will be scattered together near Alligator Reef, an ocean site near Islamorada off the Florida Keys, which was a long favorite dive spot for both Diane and Ray. We will all miss you greatly! A life well lived indeed! Rest In Peace. In leu of flowers, the family asks all to reach out and thank a Veteran for their service. 🙂 Thank you for reading. God bless you all. Personal messages from friends and family may be sent to Ray’s daughter Cindy K. Koncaba at 215 Pueblo St. Tavernier, FL 33070.

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