William Raymond McLeod was cremated last Thursday (November 7) after a funeral service at Hill Street Church, led by Rev Nigel McCullough.
It is to this church that his beloved 2nd Lurgan Scout troop are attached.
He was given a guard of honour by uniform members from the Scouts. As well as family and friends, some former colleagues and pupils from Lurgan Junior High School and people involved in the local music scene attended his funeral.
Ray was the second son of Ian and Elsie McLeod. He grew up with his brother, Dennis, at their Wood Lane home.
After school at King’s Park Primary School and Lurgan College, he began his working life as a technician with the BBC in London and then taught Science for over a decade, before becoming an entrepreneur when he opened an iconic music shop in the town.
Trevor Canning paid tribute to Raymond saying, “One of his Explorer Scouts described his outstanding leadership qualities as providing a wealth of new opportunities for young people backed by a safety net of help and support which was always just out of sight.”
The UK’s Chief Scout described his services to Scouting as exceptional in nature and awarded him one of Scouting’s highest honours, the Bar to the Silver Acorn accompanied by an invitation to join him at the St George’s Day celebration at Windsor Castle.
When Ray was a young man he dreamed of owning a property in the Mournes with just enough land for a Scout campsite. The dream became a reality when he purchased and renovated what became known as the Ponderosa.
A skilled musician, his other dream to own a music shop had also become a reality several decades earlier.
Trevor said, “ It was always a pleasure to go into the shop and tune into the conversation. I’m not sure he ever had many customers, as customers quickly became friends on first name terms.”
A man of great faith, Ray was a regular fixture at the Busmen’s Mission Hall on Wednesday nights playing as part of the praise team.
His trademark mode of transport was the Jaguar and, before that, a white Ford Anglia affectionately known as the Cloud Mobile.
Ray’s travels took him all over the world to more than 30 different countries including regular trips to visit his friend Terry Lockhart. Terry had lost his wife in the La Mon bombing and relocated to the Philippines where he set up an orphanage. It was a charitable cause that Ray made a fantastic contribution towards.
Trevor said, “William Raymond McLeod would have celebrated his 65th birthday on January 13 2014. Some might say a life cut short; those who really knew him will say a life well lived in the service of others.”
Ray will be dearly missed by his family and everyone who had the pleasure to make his acquaintance.