NWR RACE PROGRAM
In Memory of
Ray Donald Damitio
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.
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
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.
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
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
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?
webmaster to share your memories.