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In Memory of Ray Donald Damitio

1927-2011

 

 

Sadly Ray Damitio passed on early this morning, February 10. He was 83. He was at home in bed, peaceful. Per his wishes he will be cremated and no formal service will be held.

A potluck celebration of his unbelievable, well lived, wild and wonderful life, will be held on February 26, at (and next door to) the Brooklyn Tavern at 2611 N. River Rd. Cosmopolis, WA. If you knew Ray, you know it is impossible to detail his many exploits and adventures, without writing a book. For a more detailed time line of his life, visit www.historicbrooklyntavern.com

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From the Olympian:

Ray Damitio crossed the flying finish line with family close by, at home, February 10, 2011; he was 83. Born in Elma, WA December 5, 1927 to Sylvester James Damitio and "Fannie" (Chambers) Damitio; they resided in Cedarville, WA. He attended and graduated from the nearby Oakville High School.

Ray married Lena Maxine Davis in 1948, they had a son, Bruce, and a daughter, Steffanie. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, Ray spent time in the U.S. Army Transport Service, the U.S. Merchant Marines, and retired from the U.S. Air Force. As a Merchant Marine, he sailed around the world in 9 months. He traveled with a carnival, drove a laundry tuck, and worked in the logging industry. It would be faster to list the foreign countries he did NOT visit, than those he did.


As a U.S. A.F. Master Sergeant, he spent time in Vietnam, where he ran a 5 story motel, bartended, rode "Huey" helicopters as a gunner, rode Chinook Helicopters on Evacuation Missions, and operated as a training officer for a radar unit. Following a mortar attack on the Billet he was in charge of, he was recommended for, and later received, The Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service.

Ray and his business partner of 25 years, Don Preston, owned the Coachman Auto Dealership in Olympia, WA, and the Prima Yacht business; later, along with Wayne Pullar of Montesano, they bought Duane DeWees Auto Dealership in Aberdeen, WA.

In 1982, after Lena died, Ray moved into a house boat while his new home in Tenino, WA was built. He became involved in what became the love of his second life, Rally Racing. He co-drove for Grant Whiting; they became a sensation on the rally circuit due to Ray's enthusiasm and Grant's extraordinary driving abilities. Ray organized the Doo Wop Rally Series; a race which became nationally famous and was a fixture in the Northwest for 20 years.

In 1990, he bought the Brooklyn Tavern in Brooklyn, WA, which burned to the ground 4 months later. In 1991, he married Janice (Furst) Brough, and her three sons; they built a home near Montesano. The Brooklyn Tavern was rebuilt, and opened in 1994. Between 2000-2010, Ray left the auto business, and began operating the Brooklyn Tavern, where he developed a loyal following amongst patrons from near and far. One of his favorite things to do was to hop on a U.S.A.F. cargo plane to distant lands, carrying a small backpack and not much else, except a quest for adventure and a great attitude. He loved to participate in vintage racing with his friend and fellow car enthusiast, Dave Cammarano. They raced extensively throughout the U.S., braving the elements in an open cockpit. Ray was preceded in death by his older brother, Ed Damitio. He is survived by his wife, Janice, three stepsons, Russell, Warren, and Everett Brough, son Bruce Damitio, daughter, Steffanie Scholz, younger brother, Rick Damitio, many nieces, nephews and grandchildren, and thousands of friends.

Per his request, Ray will be cremated; no formal service will be held. At a later date, his ashes will be spread as he dictated. Donations are welcomed for the Oakville Food Bank; c/o Kathy Rosbaugh 1516 Oak Meadows Ln Oakville WA 98568

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Thank you, each and every one, for sharing your sentiments about Ray with the world. I know there are some questions regarding his passing, which I would like to answer at this time.

Ray had spent the months of November and December in Laughlin, NV, where we’d rented a condo for 6 months, so he could have a warm place to winter over. In December, he began experiencing very severe upper neck and back pain, and couldn’t get the medical attention he needed, so his brother Rick, and his wife, Char (who were with him over the holidays) took him to Las Vegas for a flight home. Immediately upon his arrival we went to his Dr., who put him on some strong pain meds, but it really didn’t solve the problem. He had a full body MRI and it was determined that he would be a candidate for a spinal injection of a substance which would block the pain. He had the injection Wednesday, Feb 2nd, and the next day he went to the Brooklyn Tavern with his brother, and had a good time. He had lost weight and was weakened from the debilitating effects of being in so much pain, but we all thought once we were able to manage the pain, we could get him strong again. I fully expected him to go another 5 years, at least!

Thursday morning around 4:15 a.m. after a restless night, he suddenly passed away in his bed, with family at his side. His doctor believes, due to Ray’s heart history and recent "mini strokes”, that it is quite probable that a blood clot dislodged and went to his lung. It was very quick.

While it was/is devastating, I am very grateful that he was here at home and will no longer be suffering. For Ray, it was the best possible scenario. After we built this home 17 years ago, Ray said the next time he moved out, it would be feet first. He got his wish.

There will be an informal celebration for Ray at the Brooklyn Tavern, Saturday, February 26th, potluck, starting at noon; and will most likely last all day. The Tavern will be open, or BYOB for the Pole building area. Feel free to bring camping equipment, RV's, or?

Janice

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