CORNWALL, Ontario – A long-time Cornwall businessman who was once Big Brother of the Year and the author of what family members say were the best hugs in the world has passed away.
Richard Bray, who co-owned Boulerice Funeral Home with his wife Adele, passed away Sunday following a short battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was 66.
His daughter Chantal Desnoyers said Bray was an active member of the community who joined community-based organizations including Big Brothers and the Knights of Columbus, but his real gift was helping people and loving his family.
“There was a family that was having a hard time at Christmas and my dad played Santa Claus for them,” she recalled. “They went and bought Christmas gifts for them because they knew they were having trouble.
“(The family) came to visit us (following Bray’s passing) and they told us that he really helped them out.”
Bray was named Big Brother of the Year in Cornwall in the mid-1980s and rekindled a relationship with his little, Monte Yancey, that lasted until the day he passed away.
“They had lost contact for a few years,” said Chantal, adding Yancey had aged out of the program. “But they bumped into each other a couple of years ago.
“He was by my dad’s side until his last breath.”
As well, Bray was extremely fond of his five grandchildren Caroline, Nicolaas and Lucas Bray and Gabrielle and Jérémie Desnoyers.
“He lived for his grandkids,” said Desnoyers. “He would do anything for them.
“My nephew Nicolaas said we would miss his hugs. He had the best hugs in the world.”
Bray is also survived by his son Marc, son-in-law Paul and daughter-in-law Julie.
He was predeceased by his parents René and Aurore (Brunet) Bray.
Bray is resting at Boulerice Funeral Home Ltd., 218 Montreal Road on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Precious Blood Church in Glen Water Ontario at 10:30 a.m. Interment to follow in Notre-Dame Cemetery in Cornwall.
More funeral information can be found here.