January 26, 1947 — February 8, 2019
My name is Raymond G. Smith (aka Ray, “Ray of sunshine”, Papa or Yogi). I was born on January 26, 1947 in Drumheller, Alberta. I considered myself a dinosaur of sorts. I wrote my own obituary because in my lifetime I have written hundreds if not thousands of press releases, news letters to shareholders and annual reports. It seemed natural that I would write my own obituary. I had high hopes that it would not be released to the public for many years, so if you are reading this, it means it has been released a whole lot sooner than I anticipated. This can only mean one thing, I’ve died. Such a bummer for me. I was positive that my good genes would allow me to live a much longer life. I left the “land of the living” on February 8, 2019 to be with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for eternal life. During my full and very productive life I prided myself in making very fair business deals, always being a man of my word, and thought of myself to be a master in negotiating. Unfortunately, I was not able to negotiate a fair deal with cancer. I left this world holding the hands of my wife Rhonda, sons Randy and Michael and surrounded by friends with no fear or pain.
I was predeceased by my father in 1979 who proudly served as a Sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces. It pains me that my dear mother Marjorie Smith out-lived me, she is 95 years old and lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. I’m sorry mother, this is not fair for you to suffer a loss of a child, especially your beloved “Raymo.”
I am most saddened that I leave behind the love of my life, best friend and wife of 13 years, Rhonda (aka LaRue or Booboo). August 8, 2003 is the day we met, and it turned out to be life shattering and life changing for both of us. We have shared more faith, adventures, experiences, laughter and love than most people share in a lifetime. We’ve traveled the world over and saw things that most people never have the opportunity to see. Rhonda, I know I promised you 30 years, but sadly that promise was broken due to circumstances beyond my control. I can’t tell you how happy you made me in our short time together. This is not the way I thought God planned my life, but my life’s plan was not mine to make. Only He knew the plan that was set for me. I was grateful each and every day that he blessed me with your love, support and shared faith.
I married young because “the first baby can come anytime, but all the rest take 9 months.” I believe that children are gifts from God, I was happy to begin my family at such a young age. I leave behind my oldest son Randy that lives in Phoenix with his wife Tanis and their twins, my first-born grandchildren, Nolan and Jenna. I also leave behind my second son Michael that lives in Calgary with his wife Tracy. Michael became an instant dad when he married Tracy. Bohdi, Tracy’s son, was welcomed into our family and then Michael and Tracy gave me 2 more grandchildren, Colby and Brooklyn. The grandchildren will indeed miss their “Papa”. I am pretty sure that my brothers Monty, Pat and his wife Sheila, Vernon and his wife Heather, Lorne and his wife Jean and my only sister Twila, all from Kelowna, British Columbia will miss me. For it was me that made them laugh. My cousin John Smith’s golf game will never be the same. Who is going to give you golf advice now that I’m gone?
Also left behind to be sad and miss my words of wisdom, is my wife’s brother Randy LaRue and his wife Val, their 2 boys Jordan and his wife Sammy and Mitchell that also live in Kelowna, British Columbia. If this obituary has in fact been released, I can rest easy knowing that Rhonda’s only brother and family are with her. I also have many other nieces and nephews that I am very sad to leave behind as I know they will miss their uncle Ray. The lives of my extended family in Palm Desert, CA, Ron and Sherrie Auen, Sharon Miller (aka #2), Dr. Rene Dell’Acqua (aka #4), Deedie Reed (aka #5), Karen Miles, Dr. Lisa Lindley (Roll Tide), John Griffeth and Deana Martin and so many more will never be the same. I know they will be sad and lost without me, for I was their fearless fun factor leader.
I had the pleasure of working in the oil/gas industry for 56 years, providing employment for hundreds of people over those years. After I dropped out of high school (because I thought I was smarter than everyone else), the only job that I was qualified for was a very dirty and physical job in the oil patch. It didn’t take me long to realize I needed an education, so back to school I went. Wyoming University was my choice to get my degree as a petroleum engineer. I am proud to say that I graduated top of my class and also at the prestigious level of Tau Beta Pi. Over the years, I worked my way through the ranks of the oil and gas industry to President and CEO of several companies. I had the honor of mentoring young people right out of school and experienced and talented people, promoting them to higher levels of responsibilities, to managers and vice presidents. I began my career with Amoco, and then moved on to companies like DeKalb Energy and as the years went on, I involved myself with several small start-up oil/gas companies. I had a rare ability to create a very unique culture that produced successful employees with strong work ethics. As a result of this, the companies that I was involved with were extremely successful and profitable – “New Cache Petroleum” 1993-1999, “Corsair Exploration” 1999-2002, “Meridian Energy” 2002-2005 and the last company where I was President & CEO was “Bellatrix Exploration” from 2009-2016.
I leave this world with only one regret, that I didn’t stop smoking much sooner. Even though I stopped smoking 40 years ago, my early departure is 100% a result of my smoking in my younger years. I do leave this world with nothing unsaid and knowing that I lived an exciting life, full of adventure and love. A life that I would say was very abundant and grand. A life truly blessed by the Grace of God. We should all be as lucky and as fortunate as I have been.
I pray that everyone that knew me will remember me to be a hard-working, honest, fun loving guy. A dedicated dad, wonderful “Papa” and a loyal and caring husband. A man that was fair in all that he did. Please remember me as you feel the sun on your face, when you see a sun rise or sun set, for I am your “Ray of sunshine”. Until we meet again, may God bless you and hold you in his hands and comfort you with memories of love, laughter and fun shared with me.
Special thanks to my medical team in Palm Desert, California: Dr. Paul Biskar, Dr. Luke Dreisbach, nurse practitioner Sheri Wysocki and all the “bartenders” that mixed my “cocktails”. These individuals are the best medical professionals a person could have.
Should you choose to attend my celebration of life on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Desert Chapel, 630 S. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs at 11:00 am, it is my personal request that you wear something bright, colorful and fun. Please, no sad, dark clothes.
Should you wish to make a donation to honor of my fun filled life, I kindly ask that you make your donations to Desert Chapel in Palm Springs, www.desertchapel.org.
If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”
Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 11:00 am
Desert Chapel - 630 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, California
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The service for SMITH, Raymond is scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 11:00 am. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.