Sgt. Maj. Raymond Florence Jr.

U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)

Jan. 4, 1938 - June 2, 2008

Raymond Clifford Florence Jr. was born Jan. 4, 1938, in Waukesha. Raymondís parents, Raymond Clifford Florence Sr. and Helen Harding Florence, preceded him in death. Ray departed from his earthly home June 2, 2008.

Raymond graduated from Waukesha High School and joined the Marine Corps. He became a Marine reservist in 1955. Ray served in the Corps for 22 years. He loved the camaraderie, patriotism and esprit de corps found in the Marine Corps. His numerous commendations and honors, plus his work ethic, helped him to rise to the rank of sergeant major in the Marine Corps.

His love for the Corps was shared equally by his love of family. Ray leaves behind to cherish him always his wife of 48 years, Marge Florence; his daughter, Deanna Gonzalez; his son, Raymond Anthony (Tony) Florence; his grandchildren, Kristin and Alex Gonzalez; three brothers, Norman Florence (Gerry) of Reedsburg, Wendell Florence of Waukesha and Gene Florence, of Mukwonago; and a special sister-in-law, Elisha Benford.

Ray was truly a family man. He became a surrogate father to Stephanie Reid, Elizabeth Rogers, Darryl Jackson Jr., and Michael and Kelvin Benford.

After retiring from the Corps, Ray felt the need to better educate himself to take on the selfless job of teaching. In two years, he earned two associate degrees - one in automotives and the other in small business management. He graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude.

Using his new tools, Ray began to teach automotives at Woodbridge Senior High School in Virginia. He felt everybody - including girls - ought to know about the basics of repairing a car. That was unheard of back then, but Raymond strongly believed.

In his later years, one could see Ray, his wife and grandchildren in his RV, cruising the country, engaging his neighbors in conversations and helping them if necessary. Before his death, he got to cross the country in his new RV. As he crossed the country, Raymond could appreciate Godís bounty, Godís vastness and Godís awesomeness. He told his wife while looking at the stars that God had truly worked miracles.

Raymond continued to give of himself to all who needed him. His love for God was shown in his love for all Godís children. He had found the essence of God - unlimited goodness, unlimited kindness and finally, unlimited love.

A celebration of Raymondís life was held Monday, June 9, 2008, in Dale City, Va. Interment will be held July 24, 2008, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in his name.

Semper Fi!