Ray Sheldon Cragin, 87, of West Simsbury, Conn., passed away at home on Sept. 5, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Jo Ann Cragin for 39 years.
Ray was born in Leominster, Mass., a son of Joseph and Helen (Bills) Cragin. He grew up in Loudon, N.H., where he worked with his family at their general store and farm. After graduating from the Mount Hermon School in 1949, he graduated from the University of New Hampshire and was commissioned into the United States Air Force through the ROTC program. Ray proudly served in the United States Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.
Upon completing his service, he received his Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts. Upon graduation, he worked for the U.S. Department of Forestry as a landscape architect in the White Mountain National Forest. He designed many of the camp grounds, trail heads, and trails that are still in use today. This work fostered a life-long passion for hiking and he hiked many of the mountains in New England, often accompanied by his children and friends. Wanting to go into private practice, he relocated to Connecticut. He was an accomplished and well-respected landscape architect, having his own firm until he and Jo Ann retired to Maine in 1995.
Ray and Jo Ann relocated back to Connecticut in 2010. They continued to enjoy Maine by spending vacations and summers there. While spending a lot of time outdoors, Ray was also an ardent reader and had a passion for learning new things throughout his life. Ray was also an accomplished artist. He enjoyed painting landscapes and coastal scenes in oil or watercolors.
He was an active member of the Memorial United Methodist Church serving in various capacities. Ray was the chairman of the original building committee in 1971, and where he and Jo met and were married in 1980. He was a devoted member of the choir, and recently redesigned the church memorial garden. Ray will be remembered as a kind and gentle man, a good listener, a true gentleman, devoted to his family, friends, church, and community.
Ray will be dearly missed by his wife, Jo Ann, and children, Susan Cragin (Mark) of Concord, N.H., John Cragin (Karen) of Burlington, Conn., Linda Johansen (Hal) of Unionville, Conn.; his step-children, Dyann Kiessling (Scott) of Bedford, N.H., Jeffrey Cowling (Robin) of West Simsbury, Conn., Jenipher Boos (Scott) of Avon, Conn.; grandchildren, Jenelle Lepper, Lauren Dabbo, Chelsea Gustafson, Ryan Kiessling, Kasey Cowling, Megan Boos, Brady Cowling, Kathryn Boos, Will Cowling, Caroline Kiessling, and Derek Boos; six great-grandchildren; and brother, John A. Cragin of San Francisco, Calif. He is predeceased by his sister, Joanne MacIntyre.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ray’s memory to The Memorial United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Memorial United Methodist Church, 867 West Avon Rd., Avon, CT. A reception will follow immediately in the church fellowship hall.
Carmon Funeral Home of Avon is assisting with arrangements. To leave an online condolence, please visit carmonfuneralhome.com.