STURGEON, Raymond (Ray) Nelson, Maj (Ret’d), CD, RCLS
Ray passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at the age of 85. Beloved husband of Alice (Smith). Dear father of David, Jean-Pierre (Jennifer) and Michel (Rachel). Loving grandfather of Carine, Everleigh, Tessa, Cecelia, and Jacklyn, and great-grandfather to Emilia.
Ray dedicated his life to public service. He joined the Canadian military at the age of 16, as a soldier apprentice and retired in 1978 as a Major after 24 years of service. His service as a logistics officer specializing in finance, supply and procurement included peacekeeping duties in the Middle East and on the military staff at Canada’s Embassy in Moscow.
After retiring he then began his career as a civilian public servant at the Department of National Defence. He was extremely committed to his work on Canada’s defence procurement policy and strategy, eventually rising to the position of Senior Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel), equivalent to the military rank of Lieutenant General, where he was responsible for the management of over thirty Major Crown Projects as well as some 12,000 staff in North America and Europe and an annual budget of over four billion dollars before retiring again in 1994. Never one to shy away from hard work, Ray then embarked on his third career as a business consultant, first as Managing Senior Partner at CFN Consultants for 16 years until 2011 and lastly as President of Allied Support Services International Group.
His work and travel around the world meant Ray had the most fascinating stories and keenest interest in world events. But his best stories were always of home – of his childhood hometown of Thessalon, ON, and of his family home in Ottawa. In one extraordinary tale, a 12-year-old Ray jumped into the Thessalon River and saved an eight-year-old boy from drowning. Many decades later, that boy found Ray to thank him for this amazing act of heroism.
Ray was happiest when working outside in the meadow of his Ottawa home, mowing the lawn and cutting down trees with his three boys, and then later with his young granddaughters. On any sunny day, hot or cold, Ray could spend hours tending to his meadow, before heading indoors with his family and enjoying a beer, reading his newspapers, and watching CNN. It is in these simple pleasures for which he will be most remembered by his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations to be made to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Center or the Beth Donovan Hospice.