Ray C. Dorman, 90, of West Ellicott, New York passed away peacefully on April 3, 2023 surrounded by his loving family at his home.
Ray was born in Westfield, New York in 1933 and went on to attend Chautauqua High School and JCC where he earned his drafting degree. His profession led him to King’s Heating where he became a day labourer. In 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Winifred LeRoy, of Asheville, New York, and they spent 70 years together. Ray also started the first commercial ambulance service in Lakewood, New York.
Ray moved to Southern California with his family to work for a large air conditioning company. He was known for his strong work ethic and was always the first and last to come out of the workplace. Ray enjoyed many hobbies and was always looking for new adventures. He loved to travel and explore new places with his wife and daughter, Debbie, who was a flight attendant. Ray also loved flying airplanes and obtained a pilot’s license while living in California. He owned a Harley Davidson motorcycle and spent many hours riding it. Ray loved deer hunting with his friends and he got a deer every year.
In the 1950s, Ray built race cars and raced with famous driver Parnelli Jones. Ray was an excellent jockey and showed champion Palomino horses in the Los Angeles area where he also owned a ranch. He built a cabin in the San Gabriel Mountains where he panned for gold on the weekends.
In 1969, Ray moved to Florida with his family and started a successful rug shop. He built an estate called Scarlet Manor after Tara was modeled from his daughter’s favorite movie, Gone With the Wind. In the 1970s, he drove tractor-trailers loaded with pipe used to build the Alaska Pipeline. The famous Haul Road led from Fairbanks Alaska to Prudhoe Bay, one of the most dangerous roads in the United States. Ray received a Certificate of Achievement for being the first truck driver to volunteer to drive across the treacherous, newly built Yukon Bridge which had a very steep incline and no guardrails at the time. Ray returned home to Florida and built a 40 bed living facility that he owned and operated for many years. Upon retirement, Ray and his wife moved to New York and built a home on Chautauqua Lake. Ray spent his retirement hunting and fishing with his grandchildren and became an active member of the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ray is survived by his wife Winifred Dorman, daughter, Debbie Ekstrand, son, Ray E. Dorman, sisters, Alberta Clark, Mary Leonard, grandchildren Ricky, Lance, Rhett, Josh, Robin, Lisa, Elizabeth, and many wonderful grandchildren. Ray will forever be remembered for his hard work, adventurous spirit, and loving nature.
The funeral will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 17, at Lind’s Funeral Home. Friends will be received from 4-6pm on Mondays for a two hour pre-service. A private family commission will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery, Asheville.
Memorials in honor of Ray Dorman can be donated to the Chautauqua County Humane Society.