On August 31st, friends and family will gather to remember Ray Sargent, a longtime West Seattleite who died at home in Arbor Heights last week at age 84. They tell us he was known as “the Mayor of Luna Park Café,” where he was a regular, and where he made news in October 2011, saved after a heart attack. He recovered from that, but then was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. The staff of Luna Park was part of a celebration of his life that he was able to attend before he died – that’s when the photo at right was taken. (And the family hopes that those touched by Ray or by the café’s support will go to Luna Park for a meal in his memory.) We have a formal obituary for him, followed by a few more thoughts from his daughter – read on:
Raymond Anthony Sargent, 84, died on August 18, 2012, following a short battle with lung cancer, at home surrounded by family in West Seattle.
He is survived by his former wife, Patricia Sargent, of Tacoma; daughter, Terilyn Wyre, and son-in-law, George Wyre, and two grandsons, Evan Sargent and River Wyre, all of Seattle.
Born to Josephine (Josie) and N. Victor Sargent on January 21, 1928, Ray was raised by his mother and her family on a dairy farm in Tacoma. Upon graduation from Bellarmine High School in 1946, he was drafted by the U.S. Army and served in Korea. Upon his return to the U.S., he trained under the GI Bill as a diesel mechanic, working at RW Rhine Demolition and in other mechanic positions in the Tacoma area for many years.
Throughout his life, his humor, warmth, and friendliness touched family, coworkers, and community. Ray loved and was beloved by the team at Luna Park Café, where he was a regular—and where he nurtured friendships with and among staff.
A funeral will be held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery, 6701 30th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA, 98126, on Friday, August 31, at 1 p.m., with a reception following. The funeral will be preceded by a viewing at Forest Lawn on Thursday, August 30, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Donations in Ray’s memory may be made to the American Lung Association.
Additional observations from daughter Terilyn Wyre:
Ray always made friends easily and his humor and penchant for practical jokes kept the friendships of his adolescence and early adulthood alive in his mind long after many of his pals passed on. But it is not the ability to keep long term friendships that most amazed me, it was that he continued to make incredible bonds and enduring friendships till the very end of his life, and most of the time these friendships were, lets say, unusual pairings.
The community that Ray was surrounded with at the end of his life consisted mainly of women and men in the prime of their life; their 20′s and 30′s whom he’d met at his favorite restaurant Luna Park Cafe. He talked a lot about the girls (waitstaff) down at Luna Park and I would think Aw Geez he’s down there driving them all crazy with the same stories and jokes a hundred times. But what I have had the great pleasure of learning is that he was a vibrant part of the scene and not only did all the waitresses and cooks love him but all the other regular customers too. They were drawn together around Ray and would ask where he was if he’d been away too long.
When Ray had a heart attack last fall the outpouring of love and concern from everyone at Luna stunned me and showed me how important my dad was to everyone who knew him. And then with his cancer diagnosis the most incredible gift was given to my family, Sharon Duncan rallied all of the employees and regular customers to throw a party for Ray. It was incredible with 30 or so people gathering to honor my dad like a living memorial. They told stories and shared memories and of course talked about the jokes they pulled on each other which is the glue that bonds you to my dad! It is what any of us would want to have people tell you what you mean to them and how you’ve touched their lives while your still alive to hear it and I was so honored to be a witness to the love these people I barely knew have for my father.
Ray died peacefully at home on August 18th, 2012 with his family surrounding him. I had my hand on his heart as he passed. I felt his last breath and it was an inhale; a breath into a new life where old friendships are reunited and new ones are bound to be made. I could list names of the surviving members of his family here but the truth is Ray kept finding his tribe well into his eighties and was a vibrant part of the tribe till the very end! So I say everyone who knew him is a surviving member of Ray’s family because the love he shared was too big for one gene pool. And anyone who shared coffee, dinner, or a joke with Ray was part of his family.
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