Raymond McQueen

            August 20, 1944 – November 17, 2021

‘He was a merry old soul, And a merry old soul was he!’  He always had a story to tell, and a craft of lager to offer to one and to all. 
 
Ray was the first born to the proud parents of George McQueen and Ethel(Graham) McQueen on August 20, 1944, in Belfast, Ireland.  While living in Ireland, he was blessed with two brothers:  Graham (deceased)(Donna) and Ian (Linda).  In 1952, the family journeyed to Nottingham, England, where they lived for almost 2 years. Moving on to Ontario, Canada, where once again their family grew: brother Glenn (Cindy) and sister Sandy (Carson Bowling).
 
It was in Canada, at the age of 14 (he shares), that their next door neighbor, Finley, and he were able to sneak Uncle Rex’s car in the middle of the night; so, (as he tells it), he could improve his driving skills.  Uncle Rex was his favorite uncle, so he always worried and hoped that he would never find out. As the story goes, It was on December 10,1960, his family finally found their way to their forever home in South Bend,  IN.
 
Those he met along the way brought him cheers, beers and happy and sad tears. He never met anyone he couldn’t strike up a conversation with.  Hence, it seemed no matter how near or far, we traveled, he always ran into someone he knew, by name no less. 
 
His first wife, Cheri blessed him with three children, Jeff (Debbie), Scott, and Christi (TT Beane), and their children and great grandchildren.
 
A dear friend, fishing buddy and a kind soul,  George (Sandy) Hartman, who always stayed in touch over the many decades, was one-of-kind. His visits meant so much to Ray. 
 
There were many others that he left behind, when he found Bill W.  His life once again had new beginnings.  Appropriately, on St. Patrick’s Day in 1993, he married Konnie Beasley, which made him a stepfather to Brian, Eric (deceased) and Natalie Beasley with two step granddaughters, Peyton and Kolie and her four step-great-grandsons: Lonnie, Jordayne, Nason, and last but not least, Beasley. 
 
And, the children kept on coming.  After his 33 year run as a supervisor at Bendix and while working as a bus driver for PHM, fostering was his next calling in a blessed life, bringing many more children into the McQueen household. And, hence, four more daughters: twins Sapphire and Stefani with biological sisters Kaylee and Lucy McQueen. 
 
And so it goes, but we cannot end this story without telling of Raymond’s great work ethic and the pride it brought him. His favorite real-life story was his employment journey which he proudly attributed to his father and his Irish heritage. In Ireland, he did small jobs/errands for food. In Canada, he had his first paying job at a grocery store, but quickly moved onto manual labor, unloading lumber off railroad cars. The list in Indiana spans from sales,  to labor, to supervisory, to business owner, and lastly to driving a school bus. His second job in the states, working in a hardware store, got him off to a great start. He loved learning from his customers. He dabbled in selling shoes and working at another grocery store. For many years he was working two full-time jobs in hard labor at such places as Bethlehem Steel, International Harvester, and Great Lakes Foundry. Of course, he worked many long hours and years at Bendix (which he always called it), also called Allied Signal, and then called Honeywell. In the beginning there were many layoffs. That didn’t stop Ray from providing for his family, he worked at Hurley Industries, Dodge Industries, and General Equipment and Machinery. And upon his retirement, he went out on his own as an independent contractor with Federal Express.  We did it as a team. He loved meeting all our new customers, but the hours were long (too much for retirement) and, although he was great at many things, navigating the roads was not his forte in life. But what does he do next?  Drives a bus for P-H-M covering the whole east side of St. Joseph County. After 10 years navigating the area, it became a breeze.  He felt accomplished, and rightly so. 
 
 
Through the rough times and the good times he loved to make people laugh.  Appropriately, in his sleep just minutes before he took his last breaths with his family holding his hands, he gently blurted out 4 more chuckles.  And yet the story does not end here, as his soul lives on in eternity with God and with his many jokes yet to tell! 
 
A big thank you to Sherry and Kris  from Heartland Hospice for their care and warmth they brought into our home. And a very big thank you to his brother, Ian, and his ‘sister’-in law, Linda, for brightening his days so often. So truly appreciated.  
 
 
A private viewing with the immediate family has been scheduled at McGann Hahn Funeral Home to be followed by cremation. For those who would care to share your fond “stories” of Ray and/or condolences to the family can do so at McGannHay.com.  In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Jude Catholic Grade School, Marian High School or Holy Cross Catholic Grade School on behalf of his daughters. God Bless one and all.