We Remember

SMITH, Raymond

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

Share with Others:

Share on Facebook
Share Via Email

Should you wish to make a donation to honor Ray's fun-filled life, kindly donate to Desert Chapel in Palm Springs Link: www.desertchapel.org


Service Information

Service Details

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.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Desert Chapel - 630 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, California

630 S. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, California


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • Larry & Pat Coston says:

    Rhonda, Michael , Randy & Grandchildren
    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal. Ray was definitely a “Ray of Sunshine “ . We will always have a huge smile on our faces when we think of all the wonderful memories we had ! God Bless you all , your husband, father and grand papa was a wonderful man .

  • Ken Olson says:

    Raymond. Our experiences were many both in business and in pleasure. You were always top of the heap (Big Hoser) whether we were working, golfing or chasing the puck. We will all miss you.

  • Margie Nickles says:

    Dear Miss Rhonda!
    Our heartfelt condolences in the loss of your “Ray of Sunshine”, You are so right he was the best thing in the world! He loved you so much and I know he is continuing to love you from above. My fondest memories of Ray are dashing in from a golf game at your Desert home only to be getting into some sort of food container right before dinner. He would swear that it was good for him!! What a guy! We will all miss him tremendously. Lots of love, Margie, Russ and family

  • Sumir Saini says:

    I would like to extend my deepest condolences. Our prayers go out to the entire Smith Family.

  • Garrett Ulmer says:

    Dear Rhonda, our hearts go out to you and to the rest of Ray’s family. He was a titan of a man, a true force of nature. I wish that you and he had another 20 years together, but I know the you made the most of every day. Love and good wishes, Garrett&Heidi

  • Dave larue says:

    Cousin Rhonda… Brent told me he had seen the obit. I am so so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful write up. Hope to hear from you.

  • Ed and Kathy Brown says:

    We are saddened by the recent news of the passing of Ray. Way too young! Our thoughts and prayers are with Rhonda, Michael, Randy and other family members. Ray was a very generous and great leader. We were fortunate to have shared many unique social events together and have many special memories. He will be greatly missed. Ed and Kathy Brown

  • Brent Saklofske says:

    My dear cousin,
    So sorry to hear about Ray’s passing. Although we haven’t talked for some time, know that my love and thoughts are with you.
    Love always,
    Brent 🌻

  • Courtney Schreiber says:

    I wish I had the perfect words. What I do know is that it was an honor to see how much you and Ray loved each other and life itself. You both helped me through my second round of cancer, making our parties in the chemo room full of laughter and light. Absolutely no one else showed up to the party room wearing clown shoes! I will be eternally grateful. We will very much miss Ray’s sunshine and we are sending you prayers with love!
    Courtney and David Schreiber

  • Nelda Linsk says:

    Rhonda, you are one special and strong lady. You were so loved by Ray. It was so obvious and I have never seen two people have so much fun! Ray was a “Ray of Sunshine”! Always smiling and joking with everyone! I will never forget the song he and Deana sang New Years Eve! And then Deana singing it to him again in bed last week.
    He had such a smile on his face! Love was everywhere in that room! It was a comfort to know that he was in peace with no pain and he is now with our Lord and Savior.

  • Adeline Clements says:

    Sadly we learned that the Smiths have lost such a beloved family member. Randy and Michael & families, you will certainly miss him. Just remember to keep the good memories in your hearts. Our sincere condolences from Adeline, Dave, Craig & Kelly Clements

  • Robin Montgomery says:

    Ray..a few memories.: Always had a smile, always ready for laughter, crazy about Rhonda, ate nothing with wings, loved his family and friends , always a gentleman…….I leave the family with this quote from one of my favorite authors…
    “Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Rita Smith says:

    Condolences to Ray,s wife and family

  • Jerome Rak says:

    My condolences to Rhonda and the entire Smith Family. Ray was a true professional and great oil man. There was no (BS) with Ray. He will be missed.

  • Darlene Desgagne says:

    Sweet Rhonda – I’m so sorry to hear the news of Ray’s passing. He was a good and decent man. I pray that God hold you in the palm of his hand and give you comfort.

  • Shawn Woodford says:

    Sitting down the hall the “Orange” office Ray once occupied at Bellatrix when I received the sad news. I will always be grateful to Ray for giving me the opportunity to work with him. What a bold leader! He had and continues to have influence on my career and it has proven to be my most rewarding. Thanks Ray! My heartfelt condolences to you Rhonda and to your family and friends.

  • Kalayra Angelyys says:

    Dearest Rhonda, You are in my thoughts daily. What an amazing life Ray had and he loved you tremendously, He was larger than life and he made an impact on so many people. Ray’s passing is such a profound loss and he will be missed dearly. My deepest condolences…

  • Chris Thompson says:

    Ray’s work with the Youth Singers of Calgary had a huge impact on my formative years.. A great guy that I have fond memories of. My condolences to the family. xo

  • John Smith says:

    Ray, I could write a book about you and it would still not say how much you mean to me. Your body is at rest, but your spirit is free to roam the Universe at will. Anyone that knew you will always feel your Presents.
    John Smith – Your Cousin and Friend

  • Shirley Penner says:

    The Staff, Performers and Families of the Youth Singers of Calgary (YSC) past and present are very sad to hear of Ray’s passing. Michael Smith was a member of YSC for many years. Between 1988 – 2000 Ray worked tirelessly as a volunteer and assisted in the business development of the YSC organization. Ray was chair of the Board of Directors and the tour director for YSC international tours to Japan in ’92 and Europe in ’95. We are very thankful for all Ray contributed to make our organization what it is today!! We send our Heartfelt Condolences to the entire Smith family!

  • Barry & Judy Moore says:

    Rhonda, Randy, Michael and families. We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Ray. We have many fond memories over the years of good times both in personal and business. Sending our deepest sympathies.

  • Carla LaRoche says:

    I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the entire Smith Family. I have many fond memories from the Dekalb and New Cache days.

Leave a Condolence Message for the Family

» To share your condolence on this page please fill out the requested fields.
» If you have a photo to share, please do so as families appreciate it. To share a photo (please note, just one photo per condolence please), click the 'Choose File' button and select a photo from your computer.
» Once you are done, click the 'Share' button.
» Your email is never published or shared. Your name and email are both required.

NOTE: all messages will go through an administrative process before being posted.