Remembered as generous, compassionate and energetic, Ray Brydon was a beloved member of the community. His passion for the Columbia Valley and making the community he called home welcoming to others was what made Ray special.
Born in Neepawa, Manitoba on November 1st, 1940, Ray worked as a banker, travelling all around, before taking a management position at the Stedmans V&S store in Invermere. As a people person, Ray went above and beyond making sure every customer got exactly what they needed.
All the little old ladies coming in looking for wool and so forth, he always would fix them up and if he didn’t have it, he would get it, said Ray’s wife, Jan Brydon.
Ray and Jan first met at the Turkey Bonspiel curling event 25 years ago. Prior to meeting at the curling event, the pair had lived in the same duplex complex across from Pothole Park, but never connected until the bonspiel. They married 22 years ago in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and have a combined family of six children and six grandchildren.
Jan told The Pioneer that Ray liked routine. He was part of a coffee group that met every day at 10 a.m. and another that met at 3 p.m. He kept himself busy. Most of his time was spent giving back to the community in a variety of ways by serving on the city council for six years, volunteering at the Legion or organizing a fundraiser. Ray was always there to help.
A hard worker, he was a doer. Not just talk about things, he would go out and do it. There was firewood for the Rockies, or selling raffle tickets or organizing the market with the Legion he was just out there, said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.
As a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 71 in Invermere, Ray was involved in all the branch activities, rolling up a sleeve to help wherever he could. Named as the finance officer for roughly a decade, he took care of all the financing and gaming activities.
He’ll be sorrowfully missed. Because of his efforts and the efforts of others, he’s left the Legion in a good position for the future to continue to do what we do, to support both the veterans and the community, said Invermere Legion president Ken Carlow.
Ray didn’t stop there. He continued to give to the community by organizing the Farmers and Artists Market on behalf of the Legion. He also volunteered with the organizing committee for Bull Riding in the Rockies, he was part of the Lake Windermere Lions Club and organized the firewood fundraiser for the Columbia Valley Rockies Junior B hockey team.
This valley is only going to begin to see what he did for this valley in some of the various holes that are going to be left. There are some big shoes to fill there in different areas, said Invermere councillor, Home Hardware owner and Bullriding of the Rockies co-chair Al Miller.
Recognized alongside his wife as the 2016 Rotary Volunteer of the Year, his contributions to the betterment of the community did not go unnoticed. He leaves the community of Invermere memories of the events he helped organize, his Life is Good shirts and his generosity.