Ray Meliza passed away March 31, 2019 after a brief but dramatic decline. He was 96 and had lived a full and happy life. Born into a family of eight children, he grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. The Great Depression shaped his values, and service in World War II nurtured his courage. After the war, he started work for Standard Oil in Peoria, Illinois where he met and married the love of his life Betty Ann. His career took him to new cities and new management situations including time in England. He and Betty Ann had one son, Michael, who benefitted from his love, guidance, and know how. His working life spanned 33 years and 16 moves before he and Betty Ann retired to Mission Viejo, California where they made many friends and enjoyed their lives together. His hobbies included playing golf and using his artistic flair to produce many oil paintings which decorated the house. Ray took care of his beloved wife for 19 years after her health declined until her death in 2014. He continued to stay interested in life, and people who knew him marveled at his sharp mind and kind heart right up to the end. He was greatly helped by Valerie, his caregiver and friend, who provided companionship and loving care for him. He welcomed Joe, his son-in-law, with an open mind and heart, and loved to sit, talk, and laugh with him and Mike when they would visit.
Ray had an unending and enthusiastic spirit for living. He loved his family and those close to him. He made friends with everyone, continued to develop new interests, and had the bravery and determination to face new challenges with a smile on his face. He will be sorely missed.