Tribute to Ray Smith

  |  Published: May 31st 2015

Our Dad, Ray Smith, was born in Northamptonon 15 June 1958. He was the first son born to Jean and Mike Smith. At an early age Ray and his Mum and Dad moved to Narbeth Drive in Aylesbury with Mike securing a job at Adams Garage. Brother Gary was soon on the scene. Ray attended Broughton Junior School and then The Grange Secondary School in Aylesbury. He was good at sport and always interested in cars. He left school to complete an apprenticeship in motor mechanics at Ford & Slater, the British Leyland dealership on the Bicester Road also in Aylesbury.On completion of his apprenticeship Ray joined his dad Mike, a panel beater and sprayer by trade, who was running his own business and together they became M Smith & Son in Stocklake. Mike and Ray then wen ton to form and run Fast Fit Tyre Services at the same premises. Dad met our mum Deb in 1976 and they were married at R.A.F. Halton in November 1978. Ray then became not the ‘son-in-law’ but a son to Norman and Vina Johnstone from Icknield Close, Wendover. Early married life was in Buckingham, soon to moveto Stoke Mandeville and then Weston Turville.

Jamie was born in August 1982 and Daniel came along in July 1985. Our dad’s love of football meant that he was always keen for us to participate. (If we weren’t playing we were watching on the many TVs at home just so you didn’t miss any vital moments if you had to move from your seat by chance!) Dad managed the local team when we were playing, cheering us and shouting at us in all sorts of weather! He often sponsored the football kit, which frequently adorned the radiators at home on Sunday afternoons!

In January 1989 Mike and Ray moved from Stocklake to London Road Service Station,South Street, Wendover with Mike and Jean running the petrol forecourt and shop until they retired to the south coast. Dad ran the workshop and MOT Testing Station and then had to purchase the freehold from Shell UK in 1996 at which stage Ray Smith Motor Services Limited was created. Dad worked exceptionally hard and we had some great family holidays as a result of it. Dad always loved dogs and he and mum bred Norwich Terriers for many years. He was an exceptional midwife! Dad’s ‘passion’ was also gadgets with ‘passion’ being somewhat of an understatement, maybe inherited genes from his own dad Mike? You name it, Dad had it. He always had things but often didn’t know how they worked, he just had to have one. In December 2007, Dad finally got a ‘daughter’, in Heidi, as his elder son Jamie married in Washington DC. He spent the day behind the camera, creating memories we will never forget.

Our Dad remarried to Maria in July 2008 at St Mary’s Church, Wendover. He even had Sumo Wrestling suits at his Wedding reception and after a few drinks, everybody was getting involved. They shared many wonderful years together and once again his love for animals took over. After moving to Wycombe Close he soon had a house full again, with a pond of fish, two Bengal cats and two Cairn Terriers. He just couldn’t be without pets of some description. Maria and our Dad had a happy time and he was finally looking to retire and relocate down to the south coast of the UK to enjoy the fruits of his years of hard work and a happy retirement. He was looking forward to walking his dogs on the beach and enjoying the stress-free life that he so deserved after his years of hard work at the garage. For the first time in over a decade both his boys were living back in the UK, and were able to do little things that many families can take for granted, Sunday lunch, going to the football, a cheeky beer after work! His death was untimely and sudden,having a stroke, at home, on the Sunday afternoon, from which he never recovered. We cannot express enough, our gratitude to the amazingly hard working staff at Stoke Mandeville hospital, who took care of not only him, but also the family and friends who came to visit with such a level of compassion and professionalism; we can only be thankful.

Our dad was the most generous, caring, hardworking man you would ever have had the pleasure to meet, and as so many people have said to us since his passing, he was just one of ‘the good guys’, that are so few and far between these days. He always found happiness in other people’s success and happiness, sometimes even more so than his own. We cannot express how overwhelmed we have been by the support we have received from family, friends, customers to Ray Smith Motor Services Ltd, and the Wendover community. The sadness we feel because he is gone is indescribable, but the memories we have of all the fantastic times we had together will keep us smiling for years to come. In tribute to Ray Smith – Father, Son, Husband, and all around ‘Good Guy’.

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