September 28, 2021
In Loving Memory ~ On 28 September 2021, at the age of 81, Raymond Alexander Demarchi died peacefully at his home on Cowichan Bay with his loving wife, Carol, at his side. His final year saw him managing the challenges and complications of glioblastoma.
Ray was the first of three sons to Nevis and Guglielmo (William) Demarchi. He grew up in Kamloops where many around him had ties to his grandparents’ homeland of northern Italy. His early adventures included hunting and fishing with his father and brothers Dennis and Leonard.
He was an accomplished musician, playing the E-flat alto horn in marching bands and the accordion from childhood to his final days. Ray graduated from Kamloops High in 1958. In the early 1960s he worked at the Agricultural Research Station with his mentor, the late Len Marchand.
Ray set his sights on wildlife biology after an event at the Boys Club convinced him he could build a career that leveraged his passion for the outdoors. At UBC, he received his BSc (1962) and MSc (1965) after studying Bighorn Sheep. That experience introduced him to the use of horses in the backcountry – a passion he shared with his sons and close friends on many hunting trips.
Ray married Marilyn Kay in 1964. They moved to Cranbrook where Ray served as the region’s Wildlife Biologist. In 1966 and 1969, Michael then Donald arrived. The boys often joined their dad while he went about his work. Over the coming decades, the three of them shared times hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and experiencing the wonders of this magnificent province.
Ray first met Carol Hartwig in 1971. Carol (‘Harper’) had moved to BC from Alabama and took-up bee keeping and environmental causes. Ray and Carol joined forces in 1992 and moved to Victoria. They married in 1998.
For 28 years as Wildlife Section Head, Ray was responsible for the management and conservation of wildlife in southeastern BC. An unabashed advocate for wildlife and outspoken defender of wild places, he was no stranger to controversy.
He and his team secured critical wildlife habitats and special places like the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and Height of the Rockies. He played a key role in the early days of the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.
Ray was an ally of Indigenous communities, seeking to empower their leaders on natural resource matters within the ‘provincial system’. He served as Provincial Protected Areas Specialist, helping develop the Protected Areas Strategy.
His last post with the Ministry was as Chief of Wildlife Conservation where he and his team brought conservation science to the fore of wildlife management. In 1997, Ray and Carol formed Ecodomain Consulting, working on conservation matters. They eventually focused on volunteer work in the Cowichan Valley.
Perhaps the greatest thing Ray gave to those around him was his time. His passion for social connections was unrivaled, his stories entertaining and illuminating, his advice bountiful. He helped start the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club; was a self-taught auctioneer fundraising for conservation; and a lifetime member of the BC Wildlife Federation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies.
Ray spent his last months with his family and friends who visited or called to check-in and eventually, say goodbye. That love and friendship meant everything to him. His ashes will be buried at the base of the Rocky Mountains where his self-penned epitaph will read: “He enjoyed life and he gave a damn.” His legacy will be enjoyed by future generations of Canadians who value BC’s splendour.
Raymond was predeceased by his parents (1977). He is survived by his wife Carol Hartwig (sister, Christine Gilbertson), by his son Michael, (wife Catherine and their children Emma and Devan); his son, Donald, (wife Lisa Beaulac and their children Alexandra and William); the mother of his children, Marilyn Oliver (husband Gerry); his brother Dennis, (wife Marilyn Robbins and their children Diana and Chris (wife Isla)); his brother Leonard, (wife Terry and their children Julie (husband Mike and their children Carter and Sadie) and David (wife Nicole and their children Ella and Austin)).
The family is most grateful for the compassionate care Raymond received from the many doctors, nurses, caregivers, paramedics, and London Drugs pharmacists that tended to him. The professionalism of HW Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre staff is greatly appreciated.
Celebrations of life will be held in Duncan and Cranbrook on dates and at locations TBA.
View more at www.forevermissed.com/raydemarchi
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