Ray Staples

Our Ray of sunshine has passed this Monday, July 16, 2012 and all who knew her are saddened by the loss of her love, her humor and her direct approach to life. She lived her rich 92 years with vivacity and flair. She was like no other and we are blessed to have shared our lives with her.

Ray was the product of her inimitable parents, Mabel and Arthur Burridge of Lindsay, Ont. Born in Ottawa, her parents relocated to Hamilton with Ray and her younger sister, Jill. Her father distinguished himself at McMaster University as a football coach and was later honored by having the new gymnasium named after him, the Arthur Burridge Gymnasium. Mabel, herself an artist, helped to organize and became the president of the first Women’s Art Association in Hamilton.

As a teenager Ray dreamed of becoming a fine artist. Her parents agreed to send her to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Arthur gave his young small-town daughter a crash course in self defense before she left for the big city. She studied there for three years and those years were a true coming-of-age experience for Ray, who remembered it fondly even in her 90’s – a 17-year-old young woman in a big American city in 1936, meeting other artists, living life… she always remarked that it “was an eye-opening experience.”

Ray returned to Toronto and worked as an illustrator and a muralist. During the war years she also painted aircraft dials with radium paint and eventually landed a safer job as a display artist with the Simpsons department store. Walking into the display department one day she called out to a man in the distance “Hey Steve, let’s go have lunch.” The man turned around and answered “Okay, but I’m not Steve”. They went to lunch and so she met the love of her life, Everett Staples who worked as a fashion designer at Eaton’s department store – Everett of Eaton’s. She always said he was the most gorgeous man she had ever met and carried a small 1930s studio portrait of Ev in her purse. They were married shortly thereafter, on December 4th, 1948.

Their son Kevan was born in 1950 and they moved to Port Credit, purchasing a small bungalow. Everett began working at CBC in the early years of television, dividing his time between costume designing and dancing in production numbers. At home watching TV, young Kevan would call out to his Mum, “Look, Daddy’s dancing on the light”.

When Kevan began primary school, Ray took courses at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. She returned and decided to call herself “The Room Doctor,” embarking on her fifty year career as an Interior Designer. She bought a Nash Metropolitan and went to client’s houses, charging $25 per room to give her expertise.

Summers were spent at her parent’s home on Sturgeon Lake in Pleasant Point near Lindsay, where Mabel and Arthur eventually established an antique shop called “Century House,” renowned for bringing Canadiana antiques to the forefront of collecting. Also, an idyllic month would be spent alone with Ev at a quiet lake near Parry Sound, in a cozy cabin without electricity or running water. There they enjoyed the peace and beauty of the Canadian north, sunning themselves au naturel on the Canadian Shield that spilled into the water. Hence, this spot was fondly known to them as “Bare Ass Rock.”

In 1965 she joined the Interior Designers of Ontario (IDO) where she later served two terms as President. Ray was a pioneer in the field of interior design and was a founding member of the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO). She became president of ARIDO in 1974, at a time when the Association was challenging legislation that would have forced interior designers to practice only under an architect’s supervision. She quoted on the situation, “Architects unified our profession like nothing else would have.” Ray holds the distinguished and prestigious honor of being an ARIDO Fellow as well as Life Member status with the Association.

On November 30, 2012, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) will present Ray Staples (now posthumously) with the prestigious 2012 IDC/IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence, an award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the profession of interior design. She was “flattered beyond words” to be recognized by the interior design community with this award. Members of her family will accept the award in Ray’s honor.

During those years Ray made numerous appearances on television, eventually hosting her own design show called “Inside/Outside” with co host Alex Trebek as well as making many memorable appearances on CityLine’s “Home Day” (with Marilyn Denis)as a regular guest designer. She became known as “the lady with the hats”. Her flamboyant appearance and her frank and outspoken opinions on design were trademark characteristics which delighted audiences.

Ray was known not to mince words with clients, often shocking and at the same time, endearing herself to them. When asked by a client what they should do with a couch they inherited, Ray replied “Got a match?”. She went to visit a new client in Rosedale and when she was let in to the vestibule, saw that the walls were covered in orange shag carpet. Ray introduced herself to the client by grabbing an edge and ripping it down, saying “Well, that’s the first thing to go”. They remained fast friends from that point on. Just a few examples of the many stories of Ray’s unique sense of humor and style. She became the trusted confidante and close friend of many people who allowed her to breathe new life into their homes. Her design sense was powerful and always made a statement — with lots of color, pattern and texture, beautiful objects and always with a nod to Mother Nature, a force she revered. Ray would add a signature twist to a room, something unexpected, believing that “rules were made to be broken” and she was fearless in her execution thereof. In her later years, still actively designing in her 70’s and 80’s, she was proudly working for the children and grandchildren of clients, now adults with homes of their own.

Above all Ray loved her work, her family and her husband of 62 years, Everett Staples (predeceased).  Ray and Ev lived a creative life together, each supporting the others’ endeavors with great respect for each others’ talents. Their days were filled with lots of humor and joy, sharing the memories they forged together in all manner of adventures. Ray and Ev traveled to Barbados, London, Brighton (visiting her beloved Royal Pavilion), Paris, Amsterdam and across Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. Ray also traveled to Inuvik to visit the Billingsley branch of the family, a cherished trip. Their favorite places to go in Ontario were either Bare Ass Rock near Parry Sound or Bala, where Ev’s sister Marion had a cottage. They found much joy in the natural beauty of these surroundings.

Ray touched us all with her passionate creativity and her great sense of humor. She leaves behind a most wondrous group of loving and talented people, foremost her beloved son Kevan Staples. She and Kevan shared a unique parent-child relationship. Ray bemoaned her lack of mothering skills but always managed to admit that he turned out quite well in spite of what she termed her “benign neglect”. Kevan has nothing but great memories of a childhood spent following his working mother in and out of junk yards, antique markets, fabric and design shops. Ray was very proud of Kevan’s accomplishments in the music industry and often introduced herself as “the mother of Rough Trade”. They had an innate understanding of each other and were a very close pair.

Daughter-in-law Marilyn Kiewiet was welcomed into the family with open arms, immediately supported and encouraged in her creative endeavors, loved and cherished by both Ray and Ev. They both adored their granddaughter Sacha Staples and so enjoyed watching her grow into a young woman with a remarkable list of academic achievements, bragged about to all who would listen.

In the last year of her life, Ray was able to spend some time with her cherished great-granddaughter Sienna, enjoying regular Saturday afternoon lunches together in the dining room at Christie Gardens, Ray proudly showing her off to the residents there. She marveled at the beauty of this new little babe who brought her so much joy, whose photo remained on the coffee table in full view at all times.

Her beloved nieces Elaine and Carrie Loring, the daughters of her younger sister Jill Loring, were a constant source of love, friendship and companionship throughout her life. Their careers and accomplishments were always a source of much pride. Elaine’s husband Sam Bornstein was also a close friend and confidante, the man she called “the only adult in the family,” someone she loved and respected for his intelligence and candor. Sam and Elaine’s children Katie and Max, and Carrie’s son Lee Mosbaugh all loved Ray’s humor and were much loved by her. She looked forward to family events when the three teenagers would perform their music and songs. Ray herself was a pianist, loved Bach and attending performances of Tafelmusik where Carrie sang. She also held a special place in her heart for the entire musical Mosbaugh clan: Mary, Frank and Garth, and they too for her.

Ray and Ev were very fortunate to have had many wonderful neighbors over the years, including Ian and Patricia Rogerson, Garth and Lois Haines, Joe Barr and the fabulous Carol Calder. Carol’s eternal optimism and joyful exuberance forged an important friendship in their lives. We are so grateful for her love and support toward them throughout the years.

A special Thank You to the kind and caring doctors and staff of both Christie Gardens Retirement Community and Toronto Western Hospital.

In memory of Ray, please repaint that beige living room a vibrant, happy color that makes your heart sing, as she made our lives sing.

A “Celebration of Life” event will take place in the fall. Please stay tuned for more information and feel free to leave your thoughts and memories.

41 thoughts on “Ray Staples

  1. I am saddened that this brilliant light has dimmed. I only knew Ray from her appearances on CityLine with Marilyn but loved her candor, wit and opinions. ….oh and her hats! What a beautiful life story you have written. RIP Ray. You were one in a million.

  2. Saw the notice on your mother in the paper this morning and had many fond memories of seeing her on CityLine. She was always very entertaining to say the least and her outspokenness was refreshing. She certainly lived life to the fullest. Loved your note about “repainting that beige living room”. It made me laugh out loud and brought a tear to my eye. I could just hear Ray saying it herself. God Bless.

  3. What a great Lady……………..!
    Kevan, Marilyn and all… You are in my thoughts.

    Keep me posted on Celebration of Life event.

    Gary Zanner

  4. I did Ray and her husband Ev’s hair for years and they were always two of my favourite people on the planet. We shared many funny times together and I will miss them both a lot. She always gave me great advice on so many things in my life.

  5. We will miss Ray. We feel so very fortunate to have met and enjoyed the company of Ray (and Ev) on many occasions. We waited with excited anticiapation, to hear what she was going to say next. Her stories… her stories…. Her life seemed so full, and we enjoyed hearing of the many adventures she had. We send our love to all the family.
    Ieva and Tom
    ps to Ray: thank you for always noticing what I wore (Ieva)

  6. Grandma, I love you very much and will miss you immensely. You always inspired me to be an honest, courageous, and passionate individual. And most importantly, you taught me to never take life too seriously! I will always remember your fabulous stories and jokes and look forward to passing on these memories to your great-granddaughter. I hope you are raising hell in Heaven, and that Grandpa is sitting next to you with a smile on his face, shaking his head 😉 I love you.

  7. I was Ray and Ev’s next door neighbour at 112 Birch for 7 years and loved and admired them dearly. Ev gifted me with a lovely painting and one of his famous knitted sweaters which I treasure. I could listen to Ray talk for ever. I never heard one stupid word out of her mouth. Smart and funny and very wise. I remember they let a thistle grow in the their garden and called it Lyle. In honour of them I have a bountiful cluster of Lyles in my garden in Newfoundland A privilege to have met and lived next door to them. Oh yes, Ray was just wonderful when my darling dog Mr. Fuzzle died and came with me to put him to sleep. I couldn’t have gotten through that experience without her at my side. Loved them both. Virginia

    • I only knew of Ray through that article and pictures of her own home in STYLE magazine. I just happened to be looking in the newspaper today, and uncannily thought I remembered/recognized the name. I went to the website, and looked at the pictures and read some of the posted comments. How wonderful a person she must have been, to become acquainted with, how ever so briefly, and thus through the internet. Thank you to her family and friends. I am one of those who gave up ‘beige’ a LONG time ago, through sharing some time with an artist! Cheers.

  8. I stammer to know where to start. But Auntie Ray always told me “Start where you’re standing”. SO, I am here right now, looking at these wonderful pictures of this unique, one-of-a-kind individual. I’m thinking how lucky I was to be in her inner circle for all my life. To be born into our family, is to be blessed beyond belief. I grew up with one Mum, one sister, one gramma, one grampa, one aunt, one uncle and one cousin. Simply, one of each. But each one was a breath-taking gem. And, Auntie Ray was the coolest and funniest Aunt you could imagine.

    When I would bring in a new boyfriend, she’d ask him “Ok, what’s your claim to fame? Impress Auntie Ray.” The poor sod would have to come up with something pretty damn quick. If I spent too long over a broken relationship, she’d say, “Listen girlie, don’t waste the pretty.” If I asked her what to do with some room in my apartment, she’d say “Kill it with kindness”, and the next thing I knew my ceiling was a gorgeous deep terra cotta.

    She also regularly told me that “happiness is a choice”. Don’t wait around for it. Make it happen. Use your talents. Make people laugh. Take them by surprise. Everyone is equal. Everyone has something to say. Take on a “whatever” attitude. There’s no such thing as boredom. Make a statement. Wear lipstick or a necklace or a hat. Be accommodating. Let your tear ducts react to beauty. Let your laugh respond to the absurdity of life. Keep your awe and wonder. Be brave. Be bold. Her insights, thoughts and wisdoms came at you a mile a minute, but she would shrug them off, not truly realizing the gold she was constantly spinning.

    She could laugh and she could cry like no other. Raunchy exterior and soft warm heart. She was, without a doubt, my other Mummy. And she loved my boy and made it clear to me that he was something special.

    I will miss her so deeply. I know, however, that I am so deeply blessed to have shared with her a million tears and a million laughs. May her influence shine through my generation and into our blessed, beloved kids.

  9. Its a hot September night.

    Ray arrives at our house to celebrate Paul’s (Sutton) 30th birthday.

    A portion of the old lath ceiling of the upstairs bedroom had crashed to the floor a few days before, leaving an visible, oval, plaster wound. You could see it from the sidewalk.

    Dispensing with the usual greetings when entering the house, the first words out of Ray’s mouth? ‘I LOOOOVE what you’ve done to your ceiling!’

    The evening just got better.

    You touched our lives, Ray….. Lots of Love from Bernice and Warren

    PS: During dinner, we made the classic error of asking Ray what design ideas she might offer for the dining room … classic circa 1920’s gum wood paneling. Ray’s answer? ‘PAINT IT!’

    Ray: Sorry… not yet done.

    Perhaps Kevan, Franc and clan can help me compose a ‘Someday we might paint it Ray’ song on my birthday present that Bernice gave me in May! The piano lives in the room Ray wants to paint!

    • She was right. Paint it . I just found out about Rays passing today. I’ve wondered lately why I hadn’t seen her, so I googled her name. I’m very sad but she lived a long life & she was a riot. Tom Wood.

  10. The dynamic, creative, wonderfully eccentric Ray of Sunshine has moved on, shedding her light and that great irreverent attitude on another world. Over the last little while I have thought of, smiled and lamented about the passing of this powerhouse. Can’t pick up a phone or hop in a car for a visit anymore, (I can hear Ray saying “Suck it up, kid!”) but there is a sense of calming gratitude at her being in my life, influencing it and contributing so much not just to me but to everything and everyone she met. We Mosbaughs were privileged to be considered part of her extended family, sharing music, laughter and heart.

    But Ray and I shared something very personal over these last couple of years: we were able to grieve together at the loss of our adored partners in life, one minute laughing, the next crying, both of us understanding with our hearts exactly what the other was saying. There’s not much of a solution to grief, except in the knowledge that going through it so intensely means that it was born of equally intense love and respect and that’s a gift that we mutually appreciated. We both felt enormously blessed, and I have no doubt that she is now with her beloved Ev. I’m happy for that.

    She was full of surprises right to the end. I hadn’t realized until recently that she could sing! I knew that she loved music but didn’t know that she was gifted in that milieu as well as all her other talents. Carrie told me she sang harmonies to many of the songs the she (Carrie) was singing to her in the hospital those last few days. That led to discovering that she successfully sang in choirs when she was young. Who knew?

    Ray also reminded me of her own mother when she was telling me that she had taken to talking to people at bus stops, posing tough questions like “Well, who the hell are you?” and being genuinely interested in the answer. She found people’s lives fascinating, just like her mother, another treasured great. I remember a story of “Gram”, the epitome of non-judgmental spirit, asking (with a smile and genuine curiosity) a spike-haired, leather-bound, multi-pierced young person how on earth they got their hair to stay that way? And although I’m sure some were taken aback they would always respond positively and leave smiling. Always leave ’em smiling – or better yet, laughing! Like mother, like daughter.

    In Christie Gardens, she loved kicking up the dirt and being talked about for it. She felt it woke people up, gave them something to think about and possibly encouraged them to get out of their comfort zone and get creative with positive thoughts and actions. It’s NEVER too late!

    For most of us, the loss of our mothers is different from any other loss. She is the person who brought us into this world and has been with us since our first breath. We came from them. They watched us grow, guided us with love, then let us loose in the world. Kevan – my heart to yours…and to all of the enormously special Staples/Loring/Bornstein clan. She was mother, sister, friend and confidant to all of us.

    Although this dynamic woman has flown the coup, she has joined those other great notables in that pool of top-grade energy around us. I feel they are perpetually sprinkling us with that energy, watering our own seeds of growth and that makes me feel more at peace, for them and for us.

    If the clouds in the sky turn brilliant colours one day, we’ll know who’s responsible. Meanwhile, I’m considering lime green for the living room. Thanks, Ray. I love you. Lay some hugs on those others that are with you for me.

  11. As I write this a pair of cardinals are frolicking in my back garden. They were making so much cheerful noise that I had to look up from what I was doing. They’re chasing each other around and – I swear to God – they’re laughing! The colour, the flair, the laughter…it’s gotta be Ray and Ev! All is well.

  12. She has so much enriched our lives by, not only giving Kevan to Marilyn, Sacha and Sienna. She accepted us so completely and supportive. Sprinkled us love, humor and keen sense and love for life and the arts. We love you Ray!

    • I remember visiting Ray and Ev with my parents Jan and Bette Kiewiet along with Kevan and sister Marilyn and finding out I was writing poetry gave me a biography of Lord Byron from her collection. I don’t think she knew that Byron was one of my first and earlier influences, but I was very touched by the gesture. I found Ray to be very “real” and funny in her own way; I connected immediately to both Ray and Ev as kind, intelligent, and warm people. I’m sure they are making lots of friends where ever they are – and making them laugh, too.

      Gregory Kiewiet

  13. I first met Ray back in the days of B.B.Bargoons at the Queen st. Location. She always came in with a tray of coffees for the staff and would settle into a chair (usually a Louis XV style chair) and proceed to hold court. She would regale us with events of her day up to that point and had a knack for making the most mundane situations hilarious..because of the off-beat way she viewed the world. She would have us running back and forth with bolts of fabric and rolls of wallpaper.which we lay out before her like she was the Queen of Sheba. We had so much fun with her that we forgot we were working hard for her. Then she would send someone out for more coffee and danish while we bundled up her purchases. She never asked for samples to show the client like the other designers. i would say “Ray are you sure you don’t want a sample to show the client first and she would say “no, I’ll make them love it”So confident was she in her choices, Being a freelance designer myself I worked with Ray on several occassions (she particularly liked my tented rooms). We both shared a philosophy of drama and surprises in Design..and I was not surprised when she asked me to fill-in as guest designer on Cityline. People said I ws so relaxed and at-ease in front of the cameras and that was due to the fact that Ray was right there beside me if I messed up or couldn’t answer a question from the audience, I knew that she would come to my rescue. We had both worked at Simpsons and Eatons in display dept. so that was somwething else we had in common and would often reminice about the people and situations we encountered while working in those places. She was a good friend of Doug Cobourn(Art Director of the display dept at Simpsons) and Billy Taylor(master diplay artist of the Yonge St. windows at Simpsons), two of the most talented people we ever met and we often conjured up memories of hanging out with those two creative people. Ray was very saddened by Doug’s passing, as was I and we consoled each other over the loss. I can see the three of them now up in heaven on ladders giving the place a facelift!!!! I’ll miss you Ray. Love ,Eric Turner

  14. I was so saddened to learn of Ray’s passing yesterday, Ray was always a star when she walked into my shop,( ‘Paperboy’ on Pleasant Blvd.) Ray and I hit it off from the very first time that she came into the store and she would always sit down and chat with myself and the staff and we always had so many laughs together, she was so supportive and always told me that I had a great eye for my buying for the store. On her last visit to the store she told us that she was moving into Christie Gardens, unfortunately we didn’t see her after the move, we often thought about her and will surely miss her visits, Ray, rest in peace, U truly Rocked!!

  15. Wow! What a wonderful lady. I was always so excited when Marilyn would introduce the days guests on City Line and Ray would be on the roster. Such style and oh, what a talent! …….one in a million.

  16. It was with such saddness and shock when I read of Ray’s passing.

    I was 8 when I met Mr. and Mrs. Staples! Ev and my parents were “skating” members of the Oakville Figure Skating Club. His significant influence on many, including Otto and Maria Jelinek remain with me to this day. Many years later, in 1973, the cycle brought us together again. Due to where I was living, and where Ev was working, I was able to reconnect them with my parents once again. Circumstances being as they are, we again lost contact until my retirement. Fast forward to 1997. I became involved with the Leaside Skating Club and met this chap, then in his 80s, named Ev. My father had passed by this time but upon telling my mother, she immediateie asked if his name was Staples! Of course you know the rest of the story. Since I was living close by, Ev and Ray became a weekly fixture for me….my dose of Sunshine. I would pick Ev up or drive him home. It was an absolute must that I come in for a visit with Ray! Her wit, raunchy sense of humour and friendship kept me laughing through some very difficult times. I was in their home, the day before the move, watching them sort through years of memories which had been stored in that basement for decades. Did you ever see such a basement! I so admired their courage and strength while facing full on, one more of life’s challenges. By this time I was living out of the country 6 months of the year and had little contact other than by phone. What an amazing journey they shared! Please keep me advised of details regarding the celebration of Ray’s life in the Fall. I feel very blessed to have shared some of my journey with both of them.

  17. Ray was, and continues to be, my favorite designer that ever graced CityLine.
    I loved her advice and she always made me laugh out loud. Remember the “welcome” mat that she said should read “go away!” loved that.
    I met Ray once many years ago in Ikea. I told Ray I was looking for a bold fabric to go with my bedroom I had just painted a Thrills gum purple. She congratulated me and I was so pleased that I had a room that was Ray Staples approved. Reading her bio, what a life. Lived fully and completely. I will do my best to do the same. Rest well Ray.

  18. So saddened to see a great life gone. Ray was a very favourite friend of our Mom’s, Muriel, and of our whole family. We loved the way she coloured our lives with spirit, decorations and laughter. There was only one like her and aren’t we blessed to have known her.
    To Kevan, Marilyn, Sacha and family, we are thinking of you. Please let us know the date of the Memorial as we would want to attend.
    Grateful for a life well lived— Tanya and Mike, Linda and Bill, Paul and Neita, Mark and Sue.

  19. Every time someone comments on my somewhat flamboyant decorating style ( I move a lot…so there have been many versions), I tell them Ray Staples said it is ok. End of discussion. You will be so missed wonderful lady!

  20. I re met her through Elaine at Jill’s celebration of life. Why I say “re met” is that I loved her on CityLine. What a lady!!! She will be sorely missed, not only by her family, her nieces Elaine and Carrie; but by lots of others.

  21. Ray is an icon. That is to say, she had the ‘it’ factor – effortless chic, enormous appeal and a helluva sense of humour. When I was just starting in the biz, I had the great pleasure and privilege of hanging out with Ray at L’Atelier where I worked (well, not much if Ray was visiting) and she shopped. Ray is a famous promoter of the use of Black in decor and in those retail days when I was just discovering my point of view and absorbing as much as I could from the people who’s taste and accomplishments I admired, Ray pushed me into the Black. We talked about my wanting a black dining room and a black and white kitchen in my existing home – I expressed some hesitation – it was a bold move for a newbie. You can imagine her response to my nerves! I did, in fact chicken out on using either of those schemes in that house…BUT I soon sold it and took on a new project. I never forgot the encouragement Ray gave me when we talked (every time we talked) and in the next house I took the plunge! I used the experience I had gathered and with Ray’s expletive-laced cheerleading words resonating in my head I did the black and white kitchen AND painted my dining room walls black….and that house launched my career. It literally put me on the map. She saw the photos in House and Home magazine and she praised my work and that felt good in a way that only those she touched with her wit and her kindness and her generosity can understand.
    I will miss seeing her when I source (we loved all the same shops) and I’ll miss running into her at Summerhill market and talking shop and I will never have anyone call me ‘Kid’ and not think of Ray.
    Many journalists have tried to suggest that I brought humour to design television, but that’s not true. Ray did it first. She, not I, was the first public design figure to show us all that design should be fun, it should be happy and it should be shared. I remember seeing her with Brian and Marilyn et al on CityLine and thinking to myself – I want to do that! Because she just looked like she was having SUCH fun! There could never have been a TV Tommy without a Ray Staples – true story.
    Please keep me posted on plans for her memorial – I would like to pay my respects…and my respects are big. Real big.

  22. We met Ray in the mid 1960’s. She became our decorator on five different properties we owned over the years. She and Ev were always warm and friendly. She taught us so much over the years, and her passing leaves us so saddned, but with many cherished memories. Ray had a wall hanging made for us in the sixties and we have moved it with us and it is now in our winter home in Florida. Every time Anne and I look at it together we talk about Ray. Many people have commented on it. Thank you Ray. I am attaching a picture of it from the home we built on Lake Muskoka. Can you see Ray’s work? The wall hanging is gold and yellow. No beige walls here!!!!!
    Please be sure to let us know the time of the memorial service.

    matt tomljenovic

  23. Dear Kevan & Family:

    Although we never did get to meet your Mom, I certainly wish we had after reading this beautiful story of her life. How fortunate you were to have such accomplished parents.

    Please accept our condolences, know that we are praying people, and will keep your Mother, Father and all the family in our future prayers.

    Sincerely,
    Margery & Tom Longo

  24. Dear Kevan and family

    I too will miss Ray very much – I have had the pleasure of having her end up in our showroom, generally at the end of a what always seemed to be a busy day for her! We would make a couple of selections of fabrics, wallcoverings, etc and then just sit for as long as it took for her to get a 2nd wind for the rest of the evening – she would always have a great story to share from recent events or travel! A real treasure in our industry!
    Please keep us in mind when her memorial will be held

    With much respect

    Bruce Wilson
    General Manager
    PRIMAVERA

  25. I was saddened to hear of the death of Ray. I did not know her personally but like so many others, loved seeing her with Marilyn Denis on CityLine. My favorite Ray moment on CityLine was when someone was asking her about which wood they should choose for their living room as they had a mixture of different woods and they didn’t think that was right. Right away Ray responded with, “Do all the trees in the forest match??” I thought that was hilarious and so true and now in my own home and cottage I have a mixture of different woods and it all works together perfectly. My condolences to her family on their loss. It probably does not seem like enough right now but I’m sure Ray will live on in her son, her grandchildren and great grandchildren and in the many, many stories and memories people have of her, as well as in her amazing design legacy.

  26. John and I will miss both Ray and Ev for their entertaining and informative conversations both in person and by telephone.I have received many compliments over the years on her wonderful decorating ideas both at our home in Schomberg and our condo in Florida. John will miss Ev’s fudge which he whipped up when he knew we were visiting. We always enjoyed hearing about his latest artistic ideas he was involed in at the time.

  27. We had Ray and Ev as neighbours on Birch Ave. – lucky us! Two extraordinary people, always active and alert, wanting to know EVERYTHING that you know! Great examples of how to grow old – I’m hoping to be able to follow suit.
    Please let us know about the Tribute event.
    Bruce and Andrea Alexander.

  28. Ray arrived at our house one day to help us with a problem. Her first comment on walking into the kitchen was-“Good grief! Get rid of that awful desk”! I had purchased it because it came from a grocer`s in Nova Scotia from where my beloved had emanated, and I loved it. I called a truck six months later.
    Special beyond words, wise, fun, and oh so grounded is quite an impossible combination to attempt to emulate. We respected and loved her.
    Ray and Ev`s garden stand reminds us of them both every day.
    sent with love to that whole great family
    paul lee and jill maynard

  29. Dear Kevan and Marilyn,
    Though this is late in reaching you, not a day that has gone by since July 16 when I learned that your mother had passed that I have not thought of her, and of you.
    Although I did not know Ray well, I greatly admired her wonderful spirit and regarded her as an early feminist and all round gutsy and thoroughly entertaining lady. She was such a contrast to my conservative parents and the restrained emotional environment that I grew up in, that when I was young I was always quite uneasy in her presence. That was why I loved her, she represented a world of possibility for me as a woman that few of my role models offered, and I will be eternally grateful to her for that.
    In later years as my confidence grew I enjoyed Ray more with each encounter. Thanks to Ray, I learned to embrace my creative side because she was always so supportive, and helped me (probably without knowing it) to emerge from the safety of my world of business. Thanks to her influence we have the most fabulous rug of sage green and orange reds in our living room which gave new life to the room and everything in it, including us! We are moving soon, and though that rug was not central to our plan originally, in honor of Ray it certainly is now!!! The walls will just have to be changed to a “ vibrant, happy color that will make our hearts sing”.
    Knowing Ray was an honor and a privilege, and I am so grateful for the times she and Ev were able to come to Roselawn , where she would always remind me to look up Philip Johnson’s glass house. She will always be here at Roselawn in spirit as long as I am.
    My thoughts are with you both in your loss and on your healing journey.
    Kind regards, Kerry Adams

  30. I have just read of Ray’s death in the October “Style at Home” tribute and am so sorry that we have “lost” another twinkling star. Ray was a stunning example of how to really live life; I admired everything about her…her devotion to Ev, her decorating prowess, her sense of direct humour, her zany hats. My sincere sympathy to Kevan and Marilyn. Another “one-of-a-kind” to cherish the memory of!

  31. To Ray’s lovely family
    I have only just heard of the passing of Ray. I cannot fathom her not being here with us now. When I had a newly opened shop, Ray used to come in, sit down and entertain me with tales and comments. I never wanted her to leave…I always wanted more regaling.
    Wherever her new adventure has taken her I am certain that the space has been improved and they are feeling wonderful enriched as I do to have known her no matter how briefly.
    My very warm condolences and wishes to hear of the fall celebration
    Diane Fotheringham

  32. Please let me know the date place and time of the celebration of Ray’s life so that I let her many friends at Pleasant Point know and so I can publish it on the Pleasant Point Union Church website.

    Thank you.
    Bob Whittaker

  33. This weekend, a friend of mine told me that she was going to a taping of Cityline’s Home Day. I also went to a taping of Home Day many, many years ago and I took pleasure in telling my friend about my experience. I had fabric samples and a decorating question so I was able to ask the experts. The experts were Ray Staples and Hartley Strauss. Ray was the one to answer my question of whether or not I could mix stripes and florals. She said absolutely! She then went on to suggest that I should go for a nature theme in my decor and paint my walls green and my ceiling blue! I loved this answer! That was Ray for you – bold, brave and fun! Talking about her with my friend this weekend caused me to look her up – only to learn that she has passed away. My sympathy to her family.

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