Family of well-known farmer holds drive-thru funeral

Family members of Ronald Bray of Sauquoit choose to hold drive-thru funeral amid coronavirus crisis.

Posted: May 22, 2020 6:19 PM
Updated: May 22, 2020 6:43 PM

SAUQUOIT, NY - A beloved farmer in Sauquoit passed away this week, and because of coronavirus restrictions, his family came up with a different way to celebrate his life.

Three days after his unexpected passing, tractors, trucks, friends and family lined up at the farm of Ronald Bray to remember him.

“We reached out to J. Donald Smith's (Funeral Home) and they informed us that we could only have 15 people maximum at the funeral parlor,” said Barbara Shepard, daughter of Bray, “And we were, I mean, there's six children...spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, neighbors, friends, business partners, community that just needed the same closure that we did.”

Farewell wishers were able to process through the barn, give their condolences and engage with family.

The 79 years old's loved ones say he was passionate about farming. He operated Bray Homestead Farms and Bray Excavating, Trucking and Paving.

His love for trucks and tractors was shown by the showcasing of his favorite tractors and vehicles.

He had a big impact on the community and his daughters say that he would have loved to see this.

“This is this is my dad. This is what he lived for he never went on vacation. He lived with his farm and the land and the community and it was great that we could bring him home here. This is more him than even a funeral parlor or a church," said Shepard. 

Bray's children give immense thanks to local essential businesses like Paris Hill Fire Department, Edwards Ambulance Inc. and St. Luke's Hospital for taking care of him.

As family and friends drove through the funeral they said this is a great way to honor his memory and a great plan by the family to adjust during this time.

(From the obituary) Ron is survived by his son and daughter in law; James and Susan Bray, his daughters and sons in law; Laurie Bray, Donna Hoke, Cynthia and Jeffery Goldstein and Barbara and Patrick Sheppard, his brother and sister in law; Donald and Debra Bray, his sister and brother in law; Marilyn and George Richter, 13 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

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