It was a beautiful day in the woods of Central PA, a little breezy, but a crisp autumn day. Ray wasn’t planning on hunting, but something tug at him, motivating him to head to his new favorite hunting spot. Surprised to see him was his new hunting buddy Billy. Ray and Billy made their way into the woods to what we all now call the “Old Man” hunting club. Ray has trouble walking long distances and has to stop to rest often, but he is stubborn and just wanted to be hunting. He took his time getting to his stand and sat in it all day long. It was sometime near the end of the day when the buck he had been waiting for walked within range. Ray shot once, with his new crossbow, at the deer, which ran down off the ridge he was on. Excited, Ray called Billy to let him know so they could try and track the deer. Billy met up with Ray and they made a plan to see if they could find the buck. As Billy dropped down over the ridge, to look in the hollow for the buck, Ray stayed on top of the ridge. After walking a while looking for the deer, Ray became tired and needed a break. He sat his crossbow down, nestled between a few logs and sat down on the leaf covered ground. He put an arm on a log and rested his other arm across his chest and closed his eyes. As night started to fall, Billy became worried that Ray hadn’t come back from the mountain yet and help was called to find Ray. Billy and a few others found Ray still sitting in the spot where he sat down to rest. Ray’s heart gave out while he rested and he went peacefully in the mountains that he loved so much. I was introduced to Billy, Sunny and many other great people that night as they helped bring my grandfather, Ray, out of the woods for the last time. It was a humbling experience to hug Billy and share a moment of understanding for a man that has meant so much to each of us and so many others. Later that night around 12:15AM I received news that a few people went back up into the woods to track the deer that Ray shot at. Ray, I like to call him Pap, had done what we all wish we could do, he shot and killed that buck. Rest easy Pap; you got him buddy. Your wish was granted; the antlers are on the wall “Old Man”. Your family and friends will miss you and we all love you!
Ray died Saturday, October 18, 2014 and was 81 years old. A dinner to celebrate Ray will be held at West Enola Fire Company on Tuesday, October 28th 2014 at 3pm.
The Sullivan Funeral Home is honored to serve the Benoist family.