Raymond Erald Denault passed away Friday afternoon, May 26,2023 at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Tennessee. He was surrounded by loved ones. He will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew him.
He was born July 9,1937 in Burlington, Vermont to Raymond Victor Denault and Lauretta Blanche Janson. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Kathryn Bott. He was the youngest of four siblings: Elaine Nihill, Phyllis Keating (still living), and Donald Denault.
To all that knew him, he was larger than life and enjoyed 85 years of amazing experiences. He graduated in 1955 from Stevens High School in Claremont, New Hampshire where he participated in many activities such as student council, football, basketball, and track and field, breaking (and for many decades maintaining), several athletic records.
He served 4 years in the U.S. Navy as part of the Patrol Squadron Seven NAS as an Aviation Electronics Technician aboard the USS Constellation out of Brunswick, Maine.
After he was discharged, he went to prep school at Franklin Technical Institute. He then attended Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Indiana and continued his active involvement in a wide range of scholastic and athletic activities. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration. He met his wife, who was attending a nearby college, at a winter activity social event and later married her after graduating.
Ray’s career path focused on electrical engineering, management of projects, production, and financial analysis. After Indiana Tech, he worked for ACF Electronics as a Project Engineer before his employment with Grumman Aircraft Engineering as a Site Director in 1965.
He loved to talk about his time with Grumman and during his tenure there they manufactured engines for fighter planes and held NASA’s contract for the Apollo Lunar Module Project. Grumman was the chief contractor supporting the first spacecraft to land humans on the moon. Six of the thirteen lunar crafts that Grumman made were launched (the others were never launched). His department worked on one of the components that went in each lunar craft. One of the crafts he worked on the LM-2 was a test craft which is proudly on display at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. When helping Grandchildren with math homework Ray loved to comment how they “made it to the moon with slide rulers and an abacus”. Despite his joking, he was highly adaptable and readily accepted computer systems that were making waves in the technology sphere.
Ray had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and continued his education while working and raising a family. In 1972 he attended Harvard University Graduate School to study business and financial programs. Continuing his studies, he attended the University of Oklahoma seeking a degree in Industrial Development and Business in 1972.
He was passionate about helping others create and maintain successful businesses. He lectured across New England at various Universities and Colleges on the topics of accounting, financial/cost analysis, time management, successful workplace relationships, managing stress in the work environment, and troubleshooting businesses. Ray helped develop a “Business in Vermont” series on Vermont Educational Television Network (later Vermont Public/PBS). For four years he was a panelist and had a five-minute spot-on Channel 22. Once, he was even featured on a Good Morning America break! In addition to his business advocacy, he stood up for the relatively new concept of Student Loans for higher education that expanded knowledge for all. He often called upon his own family for examples of how impactful a loan could be so a student could achieve a degree they may not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue. He also designed and facilitated seminars on signage and assisted town zoning officers in the planning process.
Ray and Mary then settled in Barre, Vermont where they raised their five daughters; Laura Denault-Peatman, Michele Denault, Simone Murray, Suzanne King, and Monique Denault-Estes who carry on many of his traits of: family orientation, hunting, fishing, education, and love of nature. Ray always empowered his daughters (and later grandchildren) to do whatever they set their minds to, just like him.
In 1985, the family purchased Twin State Signs, Inc. Together they created a true family business, with the philosophy of always family first. The intent was they would be able to provide jobs for family members if needed. All his daughters, sons-in-law, and many of his grandchildren did work at the company at some point in their lives with some staying on through the years. They sold the company in 2019 which transitioned Ray into permanent retirement at the age of 82 when he moved to the Nashville, TN area.
As if his active career and family life wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he was always knee deep in activity and community projects or boards. He was involved in several Catholic communities over his lifetime. Ray was also a member and chaired several clubs: Canadian Club, Elks Lodge No 916, Knights of Columbus, American Legion Post 91, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 4218 Post, selectboards, coaching softball, and refereeing collegiate soccer.
He was a passionate and skilled outdoorsman who loved to rabbit hunt with his beagles, hunting deer and fresh and saltwater fishing which helped provide the family table with a wide range of nature’s food.
Ray was happiest when spending time with his sprawling family of 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren (with two more on the way). He was affectionately referred to as Pepérè by his grandchildren. He ensured that each grandchild shared some special connection with him; making them feel like they were special.
Though he may have passed on, his spirit remains forged within us. Raise a glass, a bottle, or an ice cream cone in his honor.
In lieu of flowers,
Have a mass offered in his memory at
Our Lady of Grace
784 Main Street
Colchester Vermont 05446
make charitable donations in Raymond’s name to the Green Mountain Conservation Camp Endowment Fund: