Raymond E. Steward, 81, of New Cumberland, passed away on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 while under hospice care at his residence, with his family by his side. He was the son of the late James E. and Evelyn (Berg) Steward, born on February 25, 1941 in Harrisburg.
Ray was a 1959 graduate of the former New Cumberland High School, and he had remained in Central PA throughout his life. He worked for the local hardware store upon high school graduation; a job which taught him how to repair lawnmowers and other small motor machinery. He would utilize this understanding of mechanics to pursue a career with National Cash Register (NCR), Harrisburg, where he would specialize in servicing ATM units and other electronic equipment they produced. One particular service call landed him at a state government building in Harrisburg, where he was tasked with unclogging a machine that had been fed paper with gum on it. The guilty gum-chewer, Sandi, would apologize, but obviously made quite an impression on Ray – the two wound up dating for a couple years before marrying in November of 1970 and starting a family in Penbrook.
In his early adult years, Ray enjoyed fishing (both freshwater and saltwater), racing motorbikes, weekends at the Chesapeake Bay, working on fishing rods and reels, and spending time at his cottage on Hill Island in the Susquehanna. He was very fortunate to have found a second set of parents in Howard and Mary Lou Mooney, a couple who took interest in Ray and would treat him as a son throughout the years. He would enjoy trips in the summer to fish and visit them at their cottage in Ontario, Canada. For decades, Ray made custom hand-made rods and fishing lures, and he was a member of the National Lure Collector’s Club. A certified boat inspector and member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ray would frequent the Chesapeake Bay, often bringing Sandi along to spend a night on their boat named “Hettie” – the name he affectionately called his wife. He also lent his time and abilities to the New Cumberland River Rescue whenever needed.
NCR would relocate to Camp Hill, where after a 35+ year career with the company, Ray would retire. He now had time to concentrate on the things he loved, including his family, his passion for being on the water, and fishing. He also developed a taste for the local diners and would regularly meet groups of friends for his favorite breakfasts and the opportunity to see the familiar faces of the staff. A self-proclaimed “river rat,” he renovated the cottage on Hill Island, fixing it up and turning it into a functional cottage for family and grandchildren. He was a “jack of all trades,” and someone who enjoyed sharing his skills and abilities with others. Finishing his daughter’s basement and erecting a playhouse for his grandchildren were two of the more obvious ways he showed his love to others, but day in and day out, Ray would lend a hand, an ear, or simply take care of something he saw out of place.
When grandchildren came along, the excitement of teaching another generation how to fish was evident. He was by each of their sides when they reeled in their first fish, took their first boat ride and had their first dip in the river. He was a loving person who cared for all those around him, and he took pride in his family and his property. Although he will be missed here on Earth, his family finds comfort in knowing that Corky, Miss Kitty and Tuesday are by his side as he awaits the arrival of more of those he loved.
Surviving Ray is his wife of 51 years, Sandra (Hutchinson) Steward; daughters, Jennifer Rose (husband, Christopher Rose) of Etters and Heather Briggs (husband, Frederick Briggs Jr.) of York Haven; grandchildren, Frederick “Freddy” Briggs III, Angela Briggs and Colton Rose; a brother and sister, Darlene (Dolly) Craven (husband, Bill Craven) of Elizabethtown and Melvin Steward of Linglestown; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Russell Steward.
Services will be private and held at the convenience of the family.