Raymond Paul Como
Aug. 16, 1934 – Sept. 11, 2015
Raymond Como, a resident of the Winchester area for the past 44 years, passed away peacefully at home on Fri., Sept. 11, 2015, after a brave two and half year battle with ALS. He was 81.
Memories of Dad
by daughter Brenda Como
Dad was born Aug. 16, 1934, during the Great Depression and grew up in a farming family in southwestern Ontario. His family moved often, but finally settled in Chatham Township. As a handsome 21-year-old Dad met Mom, Doreen Nevills, in Dresden one evening while he was “cruising the drag” in his pickup truck! (Not unlike the rural young folks today, only there was no Tim Hortons then – only the ice cream stand!)
Mom and Dad were married on May 7, 1955 and together they had five children: Brenda, Linda, Sandra, Brian, and Kathy.
Dad farmed rented property in Chatham Township, but always had the dream of owning his own farm. I will never forget the day that Dad came back to the cottage where we were vacationing at Otter Lake saying ‘he had found the farm he wanted to buy!” So, in March 1971, a caravan consisting of our station wagon, a truck with all our belongings, our dog and a couple of cats made the day-long trek from Chatham to Winchester. We really weren’t sure what Dad had gotten us into when we saw all that snow, but Dad was determined to succeed.
And succeed he did! From the original home farm, Dad purchased additional properties over the years, and at the same time built up his second business: Como Farm Equipment. Along the way, Brian and his son Tyler joined the family business, and now carry on the legacy started by Dad.
One of Dad’s hobbies was talking and visiting – to family, friends, neighbours, and complete strangers. He seemed to instantly become friends with everyone he met. Dad just loved to talk and talk. Ask any non-farming family member who sat next to Dad at a family function and listened to hours of tractor and farm talk! This love of “the gift of the gab” was all the more tragic when ALS robbed Dad of his ability to talk. But even that did not stop Dad. He continued to “talk” by writing notes on his writing board.
Other hobbies of Dad’s included watching and participating in tractor pulls – his last one shortly after being diagnosed with ALS, even placing first place in his division. Dad had the biggest fan club at the tractor pull, with almost the entire family coming out to cheer him to victory. Dad enjoyed reading the newspaper and watching CNN, and knew more about news than anyone I know. Mom and Dad also enjoyed the local restaurants and especially liked their early morning visits to Tim Hortons to visit their “coffee” friends. Dad and Mom loved country music… and we were able to share this with them by watching many DVD concerts of their favourite singers during Dad’s illness.
Mom and Dad also enjoyed travelling. In 1976, dad bought their first motor home and they enjoyed travelling to Branson, Nashville, and Florida. For 20 years, Mom and Dad travelled to Florida where they spent the month of February in St. Petersburg, enjoying the warm weather, their coffee club friends, the dog races, visits with Mom’s sister and her husband, visits from grandchildren, sightseeing, shopping, flea markets, and all their favourite restaurants. In January 2014, seven family members travelled with Mom and Dad to Florida. We stayed near their motor home park and did all the things they usually did on their vacation. Although Dad was on a feeding tube by this time and his walk was a little slower, he wanted us to see and experience everything that was near and dear to him and Mom. Everyone had an amazing time! It was a trip of a lifetime – one rich in family times and wonderful memories.
Mom and Dad have given us a wonderful life. They have shared their sense of humour with all of their children and grandchildren, with everyone enjoying a good practical joke or a funny story. Mom and Dad have shown us the value of family with their love and devotion to their children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. Family is so important to Mom and Dad, and they have passed this value on to their children and grandchildren.
They say that ALS happens to good people, smart people, nice people… Dad was all of those and more. He faced his declining health with unwavering spirit. He worked long hours during the fall harvest after first being diagnosed with ALS and did his best to get out to the shed to check on business during the winter months. The following spring, Dad was unable to participate in the spring planting, but was able to drive tractors to the local grain elevator during the fall harvest. If he had been able to, he would have been working this year’s spring planting as well. Instead, he did a lot of farming from his “customized ALS chair” right in front of the living room window! Giving up was not in Dad’s nature! Until May of this year, Dad could be seen touring around the roads close to his farm in his Kubota gator, and every morning Dad and Brian would catch up on what was happening in the world of farm equipment. Dad loved going for daily drives with family members to check out the crops, to keep up with local happenings, and to go through the drive-thru at Tim Hortons even though he was unable to eat or drink anything.
We learned a lot about Dad while caring for him in his final months. He wrote many notes about his childhood, his early farming years, how he started his equipment business, the price of everything 50 years ago, and the early years spent with his children and 10 grandchildren.
Dad fought a strong, dignified battle with ALS. Even as this disease was robbing him of one ability after another, Dad never gave up. He just accepted each new challenge and continued on with his life. We feel so blessed that we were able to spend these final precious months with Dad to share this difficult journey with him.
Dad, we are going to miss you so much. Your love, your strength, your understanding, your wisdom, your amazing sense of humour, and your beautiful smile will live on inside us forever. You have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world. Goodbye Dad. We love you and you will live in our hearts forever.
Raymond is survived by his wife of 60 wonderful years, Doreen. He was the loving father of Brenda Como (Rob Simmons), Linda (Steve Johnston), Sandra (Mike Miskiman), Brian Como (Pam), and Kathy (Steven Cooper). He was the cherished grandfather of Chris Savage (Jen), Lindsay Brown (Martin), Sarah Miskiman (Konstantin), Kaitlyn Lecours, Ryan Johnston (Katie), Laura Miskiman (Reed), Tyler Como, Brittany Cooper (Joel), Kyle Como, and Alyssa Cooper. He will be fondly remembered by step-grandchildren Kathryn, Meghan, Andrew, and their families. He was the loving great-grandfather of Luke and Hannah Savage. Raymond was the brother of Jeannette (Bob Gervais), Edna (the late James Cudney), and Eileen Como.
Friends were received at the Daley Family Funeral Home in Metcalfe onTues., Sept. 15. A private service was held Wed., Sept. 16 at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville. The pallbearers were grandsons Chris Savage, Ryan Johnston, Tyler Como, and Kyle Como. Flower bearers were Kaitlyn Lecours and Brittany Cooper.
Donations made to the ALS Society of Canada or the Dundas County Hospice are greatly appreciated by the family.