2017-08-31 / Obituaries

Ray Wilson

Ray Wilson passed away peacefully at home in Mt. Bullion on Aug. 6, 2017 in the company of family and next to his morning mug of hot chocolate and glass of orange juice.

Ray was born Jan. 16, 1929 in Inglewood, Calif., to Zilla and Herbert Wilson. He grew up and went to school in Inglewood and Ventura, Calif., and loved attending the Rose Parade in Pasadena each year.

In 1949 Ray moved to Yosemite National Park and began working for the Yosemite Park & Curry Company in the storeroom at the Ahwahnee Hotel. Shortly after he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years in Fort Lee, Va., receiving training as a cook. After discharge he returned to the Ahwahnee, where he worked primarily as pastry chef for 50 years until his retirement in 1999.

In his role at the Ahwahnee Hotel, Ray became known to thousands of visitors for his desserts, especially his boysenberry pie. His replica cakes for the 50th anniversary of the Ahwahnee Hotel in 1977 and the 100th anniversary of the Wawona Hotel in 1979 will be long remembered. He prepared specialty desserts for the Queen of England when she visited in 1983 and for numerous Bracebridge Dinners.

In Mariposa, Ray was an avid supporter of the Triangle Roping Club (1970s) and the Mariposa County Fair. After retirement he volunteered at the Mariposa County Senior Center and donated many handmade birdhouses for auction to benefit the Ewing Wing at J.C. Fremont Hospital. He may be best remembered for driving his blue 1966 Malibu convertible, or his electric blue 1975 Nova cabriolet, when completing activities around town.

Ray is survived by his wife of 56 years, Charlotte Wilson (Ewing); son, Daniel Wilson; daughter, Rebecca Watson; two brothers, Donald and Bob (Monroe, Ore.) as well was other relatives, including two grandchildren.

No funeral, no flowers, no regrets. Friends are asked to enjoy a favorite dessert and raise a root beer in his memory.

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He will be missed by

He will be missed by me...very fond memories of his kindness and the twinkle in his eyes. Not everyone knew that in him but he was my friend and we often sent Christmas cards years after his retirement from the park. I'm so glad he knew my kids and my husband. They don't make characters like him anymore...

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