NAUGATUCK — Raymond Edward Dowling, 88, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 1, 2017 surrounded by his loving family in his Naugatuck home.
Born on Jan. 19, 1929, Ray was proud to live his entire life in Naugatuck. Growing up in the “Kelly Hill” section of town, Ray graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1946. He received his B.S. in history and social studies from Central Connecticut State, a masters in administration from Columbia University and a 6th Year Professional Degree from Fairfield University in supervision and administration.
Married in 1961, Ray met Joanne Chiffriller while they were both teaching in Oxford. Realizing his good fortune, Ray described their marriage as “the best thing that ever happened to me.” The most important part of Ray’s life was his family, beginning with his four children and then his three grandchildren. Nothing made Ray happier than holiday dinners and trips to Cape Cod when his family was together.
Ray dedicated his professional life to public education. After beginning his teaching career in middle school, Ray taught history and social studies at Naugatuck High School and later became the assistant principal. Ray then served as school superintendent for Naugatuck for 22 years before retiring in 1991. The Resource Center at Naugatuck High School was dedicated in his name as recognition for his years of service to the students of Naugatuck. Countless former students consider Ray a mentor and friend.
Ray was an accomplished golfer and sports fan, passions he has passed on to his children and grandchildren. An avid reader and history buff, Ray was knowledgeable on any number of topics and a great story teller. Ray often noted how important it was to create memories for his family and he succeeded. His family’s favorite moments were spent around the dinner table exchanging stories about their childhood.
Ray continued his community work after retirement. He served as a trustee of ION Bank, on the YMCA Board of Directors and as a chairman of the Rotary Scholarship Committee. Dedicated to the Catholic Church, Ray ushered at 8 a.m. Mass at St. Francis Church for over 20 years.
Ray’s life will stay forever as an inspiration for his children and grandchildren. Raymond Dowling of Chicago, Ill.; Thomas Dowling and his wife, Susan, of Oakdale; Judy Leask and her husband, Richard, of Glendale, Ariz.; and Jennifer Gilman and her husband, Robert, who live in Hingham, Mass. with Ray’s three grandchildren, Tommy, Matt and Mia. Ray has two brothers, Robert residing in Suffield with his wife, Mary, and Donald residing in Lynnwood, Wash., who has survived his late wife, Sara.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 318 Church St., Naugatuck. Everyone is kindly asked to go directly to church. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery, Naugatuck. Calling hours are Monday June 5, 2017 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Buckmiller Thurston Mengacci Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck.
To honor Ray’s memory, contributions can be made to St. Francis of Assisi Church, 318 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770, to the Raymond E. Dowling Resource Center at Naugatuck High School, 543 Rubber Ave., Naugatuck, CT 06770 or to the Bob Veillette Recovery Fund, 119 Timothy Road, Naugatuck, CT 06770.
To leave an online condolence, visit www.buckmillerthurstonmengacci.com.