by Henry Lane Hull
Undaunted would be a good word to use in describing Ray Pendleton, who died last week at the age of 82. After a lengthy career in the construction business where he supervised the building of numerous high-rise structures, Ray and his wife, Jean, settled in White Stone. In his time here Ray was a resource for his friends whenever the subject of construction arose.
He was readily available to listen and to give advice to those building or remodeling a home. He was keenly intelligent and went straight to the issue at hand. From his decades of experience he knew the answers and the solutions to his friends’ concerns. His self-confidence, built itself over the course of his professional life in dealing with multi-national companies and different political systems, was a re-assuring and comforting balm to those who asked him questions. When the subject was any form of construction, few could match his level of expertise.
Ray was possessed of a sardonic wit, which did not lead him to tell jokes as much as to make comments, sometimes acerbic, on the passing scene. His ruminations were matched by Jean’s equally witty retorts, which represented the essence of forbearing patience. The dynamic between Jean and Ray was a delight to behold and their repartee offered amusement to their friends.
Here in the Northern Neck, Ray lived a somewhat informal lifestyle. He wore sandals most of the year and dressed on the casual side, usually in Bermuda shorts. He liked to accompany Jean on her jaunts to estate sales, antique shops and auctions, usually remarking, sometimes quite forcefully albeit humorously, that they needed nothing, but was happy to be with her and to support her interests.
Once away from the world of heavy construction, Ray’s great joy in life was fishing, which was a primary reason for the move to White Stone. The surest way to capture Ray’s total attention was to start telling him where and when one had caught “the big one.” He had come to know the Chesapeake Bay and its Northern Neck tributaries as well as he knew a high-rise crane and he wanted to be in on any new fishing information.
He was fluent in recognizing the various species that one catches in our waters, and liked to speak of Jean’s culinary abilities in preparing them for the table.
In his working days Ray had traveled extensively and remained in different places for protracted periods as projects were undertaken and ultimately seen to completion. Once in the Northern Neck, he seemed quite contented to turn to stability as far as his place of residence was concerned and to become part of the local scene. He would say he had traveled sufficiently for several lifetimes and he simply liked being at home.
Raymond Alexander Pendleton, November 19, 1936-January 11, 2019. R.I.P.
Sunday on my daily morning visit to the barnyard, I found Lou, our pet gander, to be in extremis, or thus I thought. I encouraged him to get up and walk around the perimeter, but he seemed indifferent and listless.
Several hours later I returned to find him upside down, ice cold, in a puddle of water. I thought he had died, but then a foot twitched. I immediately admitted him to intensive cage, with a new straw bed and water and food.
I had built a box for him, but when I came back he had gotten out of the box and was sitting up acting quite chipper with his usual honk emanating across the yard. He still is in the ICU (Intensive Cage Unit), but showing marked signs of recovery.
Gladys, his spouse, is her usual frantic self, and I am unable to discern whether her behavior is from missing him, or simply indicative of her normal erratic demeanor.
For his part, as a gosling Lou had been imprinted by his first owner, the late Paula Teeples, and over the past decade-plus had come to think of me as his imprinted father, or at least, best friend. I entertain the hope that his recovery continues apace.