Ray Azevedo, age 92, left this world to the greatest fishing spot ever on January 24, 2023. He was entered into rest on February 2, 2023, in Manteca.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Azevedo; his brother Anthony Azevedo, and sisters Lucille Cooper and Lenora Traylor. He is survived by his five sons, Mike, Greg, Ron, Paul and Joe; sister Catherine Spalinger; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Ray was born on November 26, 1930, in Stockton, California. A full blooded and proud “Portagee”, he grew up fishing and carried that passion his entire life. Ray was a U.S. Navy Veteran and honorably served on a destroyer, the USS Fred T. Berry, during the Korean War.
Ray learned to work hard at an early age. After his navy service, he worked for Del Monte Corporation. He spent most of his over 40-year career as a fruit buyer. Ray worked his way up the ranks but often passed up job promotions because moving locations was not best for the family. Long hours for Ray, especially during the fruit season, were the norm. There were lots of after-hour calls on the home, rotary-style phone and many miles driven through “the valley”. Ray was a man respected by all. He was true to his word and sympathetic to the hard-working farmers, most of whom became friends. A colleague recalled that Ray would work hard even to find a buyer for a farmer when Del Monte could not buy the farmer’s crops. That was just one small example of Ray’s integrity.
The love of Ray’s life was Anna “Anne “Azevedo. They were married over 67 years and raised five boys. He was a true “family-man”. Ray’s patience was often tested by the escapades of the five boys over a span of many years. Raising five boys in the turbulent times of the 60’s and 70’s was a parenting challenge. Family dinners generated many fond memories. Dad would even offer a favorite restaurant recommendation if there were any negative comments about Mom’s meals. Given with enthusiasm, that recommendation was, “the restaurant down the street!”. He was patient and kind even when the actions of his sons deserved a different fatherly response. He taught by example. He was strong, but humble; insightful and funny, and generous to anyone and everyone except himself. He was the greatest Dad ever.
Ray retired young and he and Mom traveled here and there, near and far towing their trailer and of course always with a boat for fishing. An expert gardener, Ray grew spectacular produce and had an amazing “green thumb”. He was generous with his crops and with helping others learn gardening.
The true mettle of the man was on full display the last decade of his life. As Mom suffered some health issues, including legal blindness, Dad became her caregiver. In that role his qualities of patience, kindness, commitment, and love were shown every day. Despite his own serious health challenges, he pushed himself so he could care for his bride. Anyone who witnessed that dedication was inspired by such true and self-less devotion towards Mom.
Ray was a man of quiet but strong faith and a devoted Catholic. He was a member of St. Anthony’s Parish for over 50 years. Ray loved being a loving husband, Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa. He will be missed.
A Mass will be held at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, 505 E. North Street, Manteca on February 2 at 11:00am. Burial will be immediately after at St. John’s Cemetery in Escalon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.