Ray is at right in the photograph
Regiment: Seaforth Highlanders – 1st Canadian Division
Regimental Number: K 737
Ray, born on December 11, 1924 in Grande Prairie, was the 2nd youngest of Bertha and Isaac Boyer’s four children. Isaac was from South Dakota and had filed a homestead application on NE 35-72-4-W6 in the Kleskun Hills area in 1912. In 1919, Isaac married a widow, Bertha Delaney, who had six children. The family settled on the family farm and the children attended the one-room East Kleskun School that was located 3.5 miles from home. By age 15, Ray quit school in order that he could find work to help support the family. He delivered water and ice to residences in Grande Prairie with a team of horses owned by Pat Croken. For the next three years, he worked at various jobs including George Vagt’s Butcher Shop and hauled gasoline up the Alaska Highway.
At age 18, Ray enlisted in the Canadian Active Service Force on November 3, 1943 at the #11 District in Vancouver, BC with the Seaforth Highlanders. He was sent to Wetaskiwin for basic training followed by a transfer to Calgary for advanced training. Ray then embarked for England where he received instruction on Signal Training. As a member of the Seaforth Highlanders’ First Division, Ray landed at Avallino which was the headquarters for the Canadian troops in Italy. From there, he was sent to the front lines where the Seaforth Highlanders relieved the Royal 22 Regiment of Quebec. From there, the Division advanced north of Russi and Bagnacavallo. In 1944, Ray spent Christmas with a dinner in a Church. At that time, Ray met up with his brother, Clarence and half-brother, Archie Delaney near the Senio River. After service in Italy, Ray and the Highlanders were transferred to Holland. The unit travelled by truck and crossed rivers in “Buffalos” which were floating tanks. They advanced through two towns and then received the news that Germany had surrendered. The Seaforth’s were then ordered to Amsterdam to make arrangements for the Germans soldiers to march home. They were the first allied regiment to enter the city. Private Ray Boyer served in the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands and Germany. He was discharged on demobilization on May 18, 1946 in Vancouver and received the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp.
Ray returned home to the Kleskun Hills area and worked at various jobs; he hauled lumber and was a heavy equipment operator for survey companies. In 1953, Ray married Rita Robideau and they had three sons; Eldon, Doug and Arnie. In 1954, Ray found employment with the County of Grande Prairie – an employer he remained with until 1985. He began his career working on their road construction crews and in 1959, he became the Superintendent of Public Works. Ray then decided on a new chapter in his life as he was voted in as County Councillor from 1985 to 1995. Ray’s last employer was Roy Northen where he worked as a Landman.
Ray was very committed to the area and it was no surprise that he was awarded the “Alberta Senior Citizen of the Year” in 2000. During his later years, Ray volunteered for many organizations but will always be known for his work in the development the “Kleskun Hill Park and Museum”. He was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion. In 2001, Ray and his youngest son, Arnie, embarked upon a three-week trip to Europe to visit many of the WWII battlegrounds. In his retirement, Ray enjoyed landscaping and grew beautiful flower gardens. Ray passed away on August 1, 2012 and was buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery.
Contributed by Wanda Zenner
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files (Obituary and news article)
Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 119