Raymond C. Langlois
Apr 1st 1933 - Jun 29th 2012
There are many attributes for which Ray Langlois will be remembered. However, the ones with which he held close in heart were the cornerstones of his life. Devout to his Catholic faith, he was also a dedicated family man whose work ethic was only matched by his upstanding integrity. Although he will be remembered for these and so much more, it is the legacy he leaves and the example he set which served his family well.
Known as the worst year of the Great Depression, the nation struggled desperately in 1933 finding little reprieve. The U.S. jobless rate totaled over 15 million, yet at the same time great strides were being made in the culture of America. Radio City Music Hall opened, and The Ranger, the first U.S. aircraft carrier, was launched. FDR's first “Fireside Chat” was a welcome deviation and boosted the spirits of Americans. In the lakeshore city of Muskegon, Michigan, Leo A. and Helen (Williams) Langlois were ever thankful for the April 1, 1933 birth of their healthy baby boy, Raymond. With his birth falling on April Fool's Day, his father thought it fitting for a little shananigans, so he told everyone they had twins which found well wishers bearing two gifts instead of one!
Ray's father worked as an insurance salesman, and his mother was a homemaker who also ran a small grocery attached to their home. With a bustling household of ten children, Ray was the eighth child raised in their Muskegon home along with his older siblings, Marcella, Dorothy, Leo, Bill, Louis, Gerald, and Bob. He later welcomed two younger sisters, Lois and Helen.
His childhood was filled with many great times in the company of his two best pals, Bob and Dan Williams. Ray had his share of mischievous adventures, too. He enjoyed caring for his pet squirrel, and a crow which became accustomed to daily feedings from Ray. He attended Sacred Heart Catholic School in Muskegon Heights, and served as an altar boy at their home parish, Sacred Heart. During his youth he helped his father at his additional job opening graves at St. Mary's Cemetery. In time he came to help in their family store and also acquired a job setting pins at a local bowling alley.
When Ray was 14, he became friends with a pretty young girl named Sandra Clark who was 12 and attended Ray’s sister, Lois’s birthday party. The very next year, Ray just completed the ninth grade at Muskegon Heights High School and at the age of 15 he entered the U.S. Merchant Marines, a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Navy. From 1948 to 1951, he served in the waters of Ludington and Muskegon to Wisconsin. Over this time, Ray, who was 18, and Sandra, age 16, were quite smitten and began dating. Before long, they found themselves deeply in love and on January 31, 1953 they shared vows of marriage.
Ray supported his new bride after receiving his service repair training through the Langlois Store. His relatives owned and operated the appliance store, and it was a good fit for him. He also took a Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course which polished his already personable nature. Beginning as a service repair technician, he eventually worked his way up to service manager and also worked as a floor salesman. He retired in 1997 after 45 years with the company.
They first began raising their family on Woodcliff in Muskegon and when they outgrew that home, they moved to a roomier house on Bonneville in the suburb of Norton Shores. And with five sons, they needed the room required for five growing boys. They were blessed with Ray G. in 1953, and Mark came along in 1956 followed by Clark in 1960. Scott was born in 1962, and their final son, Alan, completed their family in 1964.
Many memorable times were shared as a family throughout the years. The Langlois family reunions were always special and a highlight with hundreds in attendance. They were first devoted communicants of Sacred Heart Church, and later moved their status as parishioners to St. Francis de Sales Catholic near their home. Ray and his family attended Mass each week, and looked forward to weekly visits to Grandma Clark’s house for root beer floats. Each night they came together at their family table for dinner and relished big family holiday get-togethers enjoyed by everyone.
Ray and his family were also avid campers and often set-up camp up north at Bass Lake as well as Sleepy Hollow State Park at Lake Ovid. One time, while at Bass Lake, all the boys jumped off the raft with their life jackets on, but Scott's malfunctioned and he quickly sank down into the water. When Ray counted heads and came up short, he didn't waste a minute and dove in, saving his son's life.
As a parent, Ray disciplined with love. Strict yet understanding, he was a great teacher and mentor to his children and in time, grandchildren. With his own strong work ethic, he taught his children the importance of giving 100%, and to be proud of their work or profession. He instilled in them the drive to give it their best and, the tenacity to prove themselves, and to always give it their best. Always an example, Ray's honest nature, loyal and kind ways along with his giving spirit and ability to forgive was the best example his sons could have asked for. To Ray, the most important part of his life was his Catholic faith and devotion to family . . . along with his ever ready interest in sporting events.
A friend to all, Ray and Sandra's home was always open to family and friends alike. He had many friends through his memberships with the Knights of Columbus and the Muskegon Eagles where he made everyone's favorite coleslaw! When came to leisure, Ray enjoyed bowling and trips to the beach. He was a big fan of Catholic Central High School sports, and was his kids and grandkids biggest sports fan. There were great times spent sledding during the Michigan winters, and he even showed his grandchildren how to use power tools and what they were used for.
Over the years Ray took in the unconditional companionship offered by canine companions like Muffin, and of course Jocko who could always be found waiting at the end of Bonneville to meet the kids after school. A loyal part of the family, it was Jocko who literally stopped one of the boys from being hit by an oncoming car. Ray also possessed a humorous side, and could easily laugh at himself, like the time he came home from work thinking he was driving the family car. While pulling into the garage, he soon realized the company service van he was actually driving didn't quite fit into the garage. Taking the garage door off its hinges, it no less damaged the van's roof.
In many ways, the character of Ray Langlois spoke volumes for his unwavering devotion and dedication to all he believed in and loved. He was a kind, gentle man who was a constant source of strength and admiration to those who knew and loved him. Gone but never to be forgotten, he leaves numerous memories to be treasured and cherished.
Mr. Raymond C. Langlois, at the age 79, died Friday, June 29, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sandra; five sons: Raymond (Joanie), Mark (Dayna), Clark (Jackie), Scott, Alan (fiance, Cyndi), all of Muskegon; grandchildren: Heidi, Becky (Rick) Sykes, Nikki, Lindsey, Aimee, Eric, Ray, Clark Jr., Paige, Hunter; great-grandchildren: Zack, Connor, Abby, Kaitlyn; sisters: Dorothy Moran, Lois Lynch, both of Muskegon, Helen (Monty) Tiesort of North Muskegon; sisters-in-law: Ginny Langlois, Gwen Langlois, Kathy Langlois, Phyllis Langlois, all of Muskegon; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; granddaughter, Kristi; five brothers: Leo, William, Bob, Gerald, Louis; sister, Marcella Wibalda.
SERVICE: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 11:00 AM at St. Francis deSales Catholic Church with Fr. William Langlois officiating. VISITATION: Monday, 5-8 PM with a Rosary at 7:30 p.m.at Clock Life Story Funeral Home-Muskegon. MEMORIAL: Muskegon Catholic Central Athletic Department. Please visit www.clockfuneralhome.com to share a favorite memory and photo of Ray and to sign his online guest book.