MRUS, RAYMOND JOHN
“The Legend” is gone but will never be forgotten
January 19, 1942 – November 23, 2016
Our family is sad to announce the passing of Ray, our brother, uncle and friend after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. Ray is predeceased by his parents John & Lilly Mrus, sister-in-law Orma Mrus (Ron’s wife) and leaves behind his brother Ron Mrus, nephews Kevin Mrus (Esther), Nicholas & Nathan Mrus, nieces Kim Acker (Vance), Kelly Mrus (David), Brooklyn Mrus and his close friend and partner of 24 years Sonia Calayan (Miss. S).
Growing up on Vancouver Island, Ray was an active child, he loved to play sports, fish, hunt, shoot trap, bowl and curl (the Sunday night league was called “The Hangover’s”). Ray was actively entrepreneurial and had a keen eye and interest for making money as a very young man. After finishing school Ray went on to take some accounting courses in Nanaimo to be a general accountant at the Jim Krall School. He was very smart and quick with his numbers earning him the 2nd highest grade in all his class and Canada that year. He stayed in school for about 4 years but then left and went to go work for MacMillan Bloedel Franklin River Division in the accounting department. While working there, Ray said to the manager “the choker man did all the work, he should be paid more than what they were getting”. He was always about being fair and looking out for his “brotherhood”. Shortly after that, one of his friends said, he should go to the Waterfront, Ray agreed.
On November 18th 1963 Ray was hired as a casual (Local 508) and he was in the Union by October 18th 1965. He tried out as a foreman for Westcan Stevedoring (Local 514) in Cowichan Bay starting May 31st1976 but after 89 days in August 1976 Ray went back to (Local 508) and became a foreman for Canadian Stevedoring in February of 1980. On October 29th1990 he transferred to Vancouver to the dock division of Casco. After all of the name changes within the company over the years, Ray retired with DP-Dubai World on Feb 1st 2007. Ray was employed with the IWLU a total of 45 years.
Ray’s peers would describe him as very well liked and highly respected on the waterfront, a brilliant guy who was always one step ahead of the game. He always had a vision to simplify things and getter done and was a very dedicated foreman that could be relied on for quality work. Ray loved to work, loved his “brotherhood” and he was known to do those triple shifts! His favorite saying at work was “if it was too tough for everyone else, it’s just right for me”!
In 1997 as dock foreman Ray and his crew broke records of discharging 280 containers in one shift (lifting 1 at a time) and at 4:10pm they ran out of work behind the house!
Being visionary and entrepreneurial in 1973 Ray and his friends purchased 142 acres of land in Ladysmith and started “Ladysmith Hill Top Holding”. They logged half and then put in a subdivision. The four of them turned a remarkable profit for their foresight and efforts. In the late 1970’s Ray bought a 4-story apartment building and put an option on it for $5K. Once again, Ray managed to have an eye for opportunity and to turn it into “gold”!
Later in his years Ray loved to travel (Vegas), play poker, the horses – Hastings Race Track and loved attending the Belmont Stakes. He was very social and made friends wherever he went often being generous and kind within his circle of friends and even to strangers that crossed his path in life. Ray loved his family and his life and lived it to the fullest. The Keg and the “baseball” steak was his best friend for years, as he loved good food & wine. He knew all the “top notch” spots and things to do that were socializing and entertaining. He wouldn’t think twice of picking up two large turkeys or the steaks and have one of his buddies host the dinner for everyone. He would show up to Super Bowl parties and bring two texas mickey sized bottles of wine for all to enjoy. That’s the guy Ray was, always giving back where he could to his friends. He was also very direct and straight up and you never had to guess where Ray stood with his opinion on things, something we are all sure to miss! Ray also loved all his USA cross border outings to his favorite “happy hours” and spots to shop as well as attending many sporting events. He had a love for shopping and was known to be one of the best-dressed men by many of his friends. Ray carved the way right to the end on being trendy and hip and remained young at heart!
One of Ray’s best friends said, Ray was one of the best poker players/gambler’s he knew. He said Ray would throw a $20 on the table and make $500 and he was a guy that would walk away and be a winner. He loved the excitement of the win and being a winner but also had the smarts to take his winnings and enjoy it!
Finally Ray had the love for horses and the racetrack and all the people that were part of it. He had some ownership in some horses over the years, which made him even more passionate about the track and the sport. His good friends owned one of his all time favorite horses and he never missed an opportunity to see him race and win and that horse was “Herbie D”.
Ray was definitely one of a kind and will be missed dearly by so many people. In Lieu of flowers, please donate in Ray’s honor to “Vancouver Hospice Home”.
As per Ray’s wishes a celebration of life will be held January 14th 2017:
Ladysmith BC – Eagles Hall 2:00pm- 6:00pm