Ray was born in London, England on August 30, 1930 and died in Santa Barbara, CA on March 23, 2019. He came to the United States in 1946 with his mother and stepfather. Ray graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism. He worked in the world of advertising, ending his career as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Sunkist.
Ray met Mary Jane Larsen while living in Seattle and they married in 1954. They settled in Southern California where they raised their family, moving to Carpinteria, CA in retirement. Ray and Mary had many dear friends, traveled worldwide and were up for any adventure, including square dancing!
One of Ray’s greatest joys was the success of Cole’s Chop House and Celadon, founded by his son Chef Greg Cole. Ray and Mary worked tirelessly during the early years of both restaurants doing whatever needed to be done. He shamelessly promoted the restaurants wherever he went.
A talented artist, Ray was known for his detailed watercolors of life in Carpinteria. His book, The Delights of Carpinteria, included many of these paintings. He was commissioned by many in Carpinteria to paint scenes personal to them. He was a lover of words and completed crossword puzzles (the hard ones!) until his death. He enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, bird watching from his living room windows and playing cards.
Always active in the community where he and his family lived, over the years Ray served on the Wiseburn and Conejo Valley Unified School Boards, and as the President of the Silver Sands Village Mobile Home Park Board of Directors.
Ray was predeceased by his wife Mary and is survived by his son Greg Cole and daughter-in-law Beth Fairbairn of Napa, daughter Tracy Serrato and son-in-law Noe of Maricopa, AZ, his grandchildren Sophia Cole, Larsen Cole and Brandi Cole, his brother Cliff Cole of England, and the rest of his beloved family by marriage. Ray leaves behind friends from all stages of his life; he had the gift of striking up a conversation with anyone he met.
Ray’s family is forever grateful to the dedicated caregivers and friends whose assistance and love allowed Ray to live independently in his home by the sea until his final illness.
If you would like to honor Ray with a donation, please consider The Lynda Fairly Carpinteria Arts Center or Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation. A celebration of Ray’s life will be held at a later date.