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KIRKGASSER, Ray C.

KIRKGASSER - Ray C. Of Perry, died on May 28, 2016 at his home at the age of 87. He is preceded in death by his wife, Margaret (Keough) Kirkgasser; his father, Raymond Christopher Kirkgasser and mother, Gladys Anderson Kirkgasser Cable. He is survived by his children, John (Ashley) Kirkgasser, Christine (Kenneth) Schwab and Leslie (Christopher)
Duffy; and his grandchildren Lindsay and Laura Schwab and Christopher and Faelyn Duffy. A graduate of Palmyra High School, Ray was a standout athlete playing both varsity baseball and basketball beginning in the eighth grade. Ray's love of the outdoors was
established at a very young age. His grandfather gifted Ray with the skill and methods of fishing, trapping and hunting. After high school, Ray attended Ithaca College where he was an instrumental basketball and baseball player. Ray was inducted in Ithaca's Athletic Hall of Fame with the distinction of being the only Ithaca College athlete to be drafted by the NBA. Ray was a 1951 draft choice of the Syracuse Nationals Basketball team and
also received an offer to play professional baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ray was proud to have trained and tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers as well. After receiving his Masters degree in Physical Education in 1952, Ray enlisted in the Army to support the Korean War effort. Trained to intercept Morse code, Ray was deployed to a
base in Germany. Soon after deployment, the base commander re-assigned Ray to be captain, coach and star player of the command's basketball team and after two seasons,
became the base's athletic director. After his discharge, Ray began teaching physical education at Perry Central School where he met his wife Margaret. He spent 23 years coaching baseball and also served as director of athletics during his 30 years there. Ray
purchased Mack's Boat Livery on Silver Lake in 1979 and was proud to have his wife, children and friends help him operate the marina for many years. Ray was very passionate about his many lifelong hobbies. Besides being an avid sportsman, Ray enjoyed gardening, building remote control airplanes, raising ducks and birds,
maintaining his ponds and property, and following his favorite sports teams. Some of Ray's most treasured adventures included traveling with his family and/or numerous buddies to fish or hunt in Germany, Quebec, Montana, Alaska, Florida and Prince Edward Island. As a devoted husband, father and grandfather, Ray was always pleased to share and celebrate the success of his wife, children and grandchildren. Ray had a great
sense of humor, was lucky to live a long, beautiful, and healthy life and most certainly provided his family and large circle of dear friends with precious memories to cherish forever.
Friends may call from 2-4 PM and 7-8 PM on Saturday, June 4, at the Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC, 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530, where a Celebration of Ray's life will follow at 8 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Perry Central School Athletics, 33 Watkins Ave., Perry, NY 14530 and Ithaca College Athletics, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.

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