Chef Ray (Raymond) Claxton
August 6, 1939 – August 21, 2014
Ray died suddenly but peacefully at home. He leaves behind to miss him his many cousins and their families in England and Australia. Ray was grateful for the opportunity to visit England to see his cousins and hometown. He had a crush on his cousin Ro all his life, and he also had a special place in his heart for his Aunt Ciss.
Ray is also survived by his wife of 22 years and best friend Berna, his first wife’s children; Richard in Holland, Nathalie in Belgium, Marcel (Nancy), and their son, Alex in North Carolina, as well as sister-in-law Gloria (Terry) Novak, brother-in-law Ken (Diane) Olenick and their families.
Ray trained in London, and apprenticed under two famous French chefs, one the legendary chef/author Jean Conil and the other Jean Drees of the famed Mirabelle Restaurant, in London’s Mayfair District. He held several positions in England, including Yattendon, Berkshire, and Salcombe, Devon. He also worked in Holland, Germany and France.
Ray immigrated to Canada in 1972 working with CN Hotels at Jasper Park Lodge. Later, he became Executive Chef at the Hotel Bessborough in Saskatoon, and Food and Beverage manager at Minaki Lodge in Ontario. He owned and operated two restaurants. Ray organized and instructed food prep programs for Ontario’s Confederation College. He was the executive chef on the cruise ship The Lord Selkirk, which operated out of Winnipeg, and has appeared on a variety of radio and television programs in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and BC. He was Executive Chef for 3 years at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta.
On Vancouver Island, Ray worked at many restaurants including The Inn of the Sea, The Qualicum College Inn (where he met his second wife, Berna) and Tigh-Na-Mara, where he was known for his delectable desserts.
He also published several cookbooks including, “First Catch Your Chicken!” as well as food columns in the local papers from 1993 to 1996. Ray met Brian Fray, the creator of the 80’s syndicated cartoon strip “Le Grand Chef Pierre” online, and they collaborated on a book about Chef Pierre, Ray writing the story and recipes and Brian drawing the characters.
Ray and Berna traveled many places together, Ray with video camera in hand, filming at Rathtrevor, the herring run at French Creek, and the mushrooms at Qualicum Beach, just to name a few. Ray loved living here in paradise, and called death his “next greatest adventure.”
He loved jazz and Suzanne’s bold t-shirts. For him, the glass was always half full, not half empty, and he lived life to the fullest.
No service by request. Ray wanted people to be happy, so wear bright clothes and play jazz!!