Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary

7924 North 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ


Raymond William Gazzera

February 12, 1930June 18, 2020
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Raymond William Gazzera, 90, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on June 18, 2020.

Raymond was born on February 12, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to the late John and Florence Gazzera. He married Marjorie Whitacre in 1953, and the couple moved the Phoenix, Arizona in 1957.

During his career as an Aerospace Engineer, Raymond amassed more than a dozen patents. His pastimes included tinkering with cars, skiing, sailing and bowling. He had a heart of gold and will be greatly missed.

Raymond was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Marjorie. He is survived by his son, Glen (Rose); daughter, Janet (John); grandchildren Michael (Amanda), Devon, Darienne and Chantelle (Marlin) and great-grandchildren Connor, Evan, Madison and Steven.


  • Marjorie Gazzera, Spouse (deceased)
  • Glen (Rose), Son
  • Janet (John), Daughter
  • Michael (Amanda), Grandchild
  • Devon, Grandchild
  • Darienne, Grandchild
  • Chantelle (Marlin), Grandchild
  • Connor, Great Grandchild
  • Evan, Great Grandchild
  • Madison, Great Grandchild
  • Steven, Great Grandchild


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, June 30, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Tuesday, June 30, 2020

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Raymond William Gazzera

have a memory or condolence to add?

Valarie Marquez

July 2, 2020

Uncle Ray was one of the most precious people I ever met. I loved visiting with him and Marjorie in Scottsdale. They always made me feel like one of the family. A memory I will always cherish is sitting on the back porch with him early in the morning while everyone was asleep, drinking coffee, and talking about the whole world. I will always have a special place in my heart for him and miss him so much. He was one in a million.

Bob Dyer

July 1, 2020

One of our family traditions was having Thanksgiving at the Gazzera's house. Uncle Raymond, being the engineer that he was had figured out a way to calculate the cooking time of the turkey with math using calculus and differential equations. He had a chart and graph of the cook time and temperature of the bird! I think it worked because the turkey always turned out great.
Many good times were spent there and I have a lot of wonderful memories. Great home cooked (from scratch) family meals, Bocce games, playing penny-ante poker and giving my kids rides in the rumble seat of the old Ford.
Uncle Ray was a very kind and gentle man, he will be missed.

Connor Slattum

June 30, 2020

Great grandpa was a wonderful and wise man. After he saw that I loved math and science, he told me about what he's accomplished, and always had an answer to my questions. He inspired me to try engineering in school. Great grandpa's accomplishments are awe inspiring. I remember one summer on a trip to San Diego, he taught me and my brother how to sail. Never got the hang of the lingo but now I know the basics of sailing. Taught me how to read the water, get a feel of the wind and everything. I'm going to miss him. Rest in peace great grandpa. I love you. ❤️

Evan Slattum

June 30, 2020

I could never whistle. And everybody I ever met tried to help me whistle. But not great Grandpa. Great Grandpa never whistled either, and so he taught me how to do what he did instead of whistling. It was a simple hum with a push of air. I loved that. When he couldn’t figure out whistling, he came up with his own way. I’ll never be able to whistle, but when I hum with an exhale, I’ll always think of him.

Glen Gazzera

June 30, 2020

I will always remember you. , MY POPS THE GREATEST DAD EVER !!! RIP. DAD .♥️

Chantelle Slattum

June 30, 2020

There are many memories I have with Grandpa. But one of my favorites is when we sailed to Catalina Island. I loved watching him sail the boat! Giving everyone a job to do and explaining how to do it. My family and I had such a wonderful time! We are so fortunate to have had him for a grandpa/great grandpa! ❤️

Leslie King

June 30, 2020

While I did not know Ray, I do have the following special memory. While I was introducing myself at a new job to the staff members, I mentioned that I am very close to my dad, considering him my best friend. After the introductions two teachers came to me to share that they too were very close to their fathers, Mrs. Elms and Mrs. Cronover. After this conversation, we were bonded in the love we shared for our dads. Janet and I would share stories of our dads and talk about how we were going to visit them on the weekend, etc. Sometimes we would discuss the things they could no longer do, like walk from the car to a football game in the stadium. We felt the sadness of each other, but we also relished in the love of our dads, which we were so lucky to have! I'm so sorry for your loss.

Tia Renshaw

June 29, 2020

Tia and Mike fondly remember Ray for his days with the Arizona Yacht Club and sailing in Arizona. Ray developed (invented) a water pressure speedometer for his Thistle which roughly indicated the speed of the boat through the water! While the invention likely did not result in wining any sail boat races, it was very cool. We will miss Ray and his visits to our sometimes bi-yearly Jam Fest celebration. Tia and Mike send their convalescences and best wishes to Rays family.

Martin Lorch

June 28, 2020

Wonderful to have known Ray.
Ray was a real gentleman.
It was a pleasure.

Joseph Motil

June 28, 2020

I first met Ray through the Arizona Yacht Club and I will always remember him as a very gentle and kind man with a sly wit that you could not help but smile at. We shared a love of sailing and it is true that he seemed to have things go wrong in these sailing adventures, yet in spite of it, he always was able to find the bright side of things. I will always have fond memories of him, his true gentleness and wish him fair winds to carry him along where ever he wants to go.



The Parable Of The Two Ships – (Paraphrased)
In a sea-blue harbor, two ships sailed.
One was setting off on a voyage;
the other was coming home to port.
Everyone cheered at the ship going out,
but the ship sailing in was hardly noticed.
To this, a wise man said,
“Do not rejoice over a ship setting out to sea,
for you cannot know what terrible storm it may endure.
Rejoice over the ship that has safely reached its port
and brings its passengers home in peace.
And this is the way of the world.
When a child is born, we all rejoice;
when someone dies, we grieve in sadness.
Perhaps we all should do the opposite.
For none of us can tell what trials
and tribulations await the newborn child.
So, when a love one dies and finds peace,
we should rejoice,
for Ray has completed a meaningful and worthwhile journey,
and is now reunited in spirit with those gone before him.
~Unknown Author

Good morning and welcome; my name is Becky Hinton, and I am honored to be the Funeral Celebrant today, as we gather together to celebrate the life of Raymond William Gazzera.

We join hearts in support of Ray’s loving family. He leaves behind son, Glen and his wife, Rose; daughter, Janet and her husband, John; grandchildren: Michael and his wife, Amanda; Devon, Darienne, Chantelle and her husband, Marlin and great-grandchildren: Connor, Evan, Madison and Steven.

We gather today, because that’s what people do. Since the beginning of time, it has been part of the human condition that we stop and acknowledge the death of someone. To give honor to a life lived, and to begin to figure out what that loss means to the ones left behind.

To provide a sacred space for the pain and grief. To establish the significance and unique aspects of a life lived. To catch our breath and begin the first shaky initial steps toward reconstructing a new reality. When a man who was such a large presence in so many lives, is suddenly gone, the need for a safe gathering of those who loved him, is even more necessary.

During World War II, a French author wrote,
“A man’s age is something impressive,
it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo
of experiences and memories.”
~Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

Ray was born February 12, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan. The only child of parents John and Florence Gazzera. While not gifted in the subjects of math or spelling, he said, “he became fascinated by math when he found that algebra helps explain how the world works. At 13 years of age, he knew he wanted to be an engineer.
Ray and his cousin, Edwin were very close, and enjoyed pulling pranks. They hid under the porch steps and shot bb’s at the skirt-wearing ladies who passed by! They also made an IED and placed it under a park bench in Joliet, Illinois. After hiding the device, both boys became worried and ran off. They never found out if it went off, or if it was removed!

In his sophomore year of high school, Ray was accepted into a vocational school and entered a program sponsored by the Chrysler Corporation. This program required two weeks of in-class instruction followed by two weeks of work at the Dodge Factory.

He was paid to attend school and continued on with Chrysler for the remainder of high school and college. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering, from Wayne State University and Chrysler paid the whole way!

Ray met a lovely woman named, Marjorie Whitacre, through his friend, Jim who had married her sister, Betty. He and Marjorie fell in love and were married in 1953.

He worked on a Chrysler research program to develop an automotive gas turbine engine. The program was a bust, as the testers hated the momentary hesitation when they put the pedal to the metal. The failure of the program also meant the end of his position, so Ray went in search of another job.

He became interested in a company called AiResearch, because they were building aircraft gas turbines in Phoenix, Arizona. He was elated, because his extended family had moved to Phoenix a few years earlier.

Ray and Marjorie drove to Arizona in his Dodge Coupe, but found out there weren’t any job openings in the Turbine group, but the company offered him a position in their Valve group. He was disappointed, but he wanted to live in Phoenix, so he took the job.
Marjorie’s dream was to be a wife and Mom. Her dream came to fruition when they welcomed home a baby boy they named, Glen and ten years later, they added a daughter, Janet.

He was always active, and enjoyed taking the family on trips during summer vacations. Ray preferred to visit cooler weather locations, such as Yellowstone, Lake Tahoe, Glacier National Park, Sequoia, Yosemite, Estes Park, CO, the Rainforest and the West Coast.

They spoiled the kids and was always there for them. That’s not to say they didn’t get in trouble now and then. Punishments consisted of long lectures, followed by being grounded. There was no use trying to pull the wool over his eyes; he knew everything. He instilled a hard work ethic to Glen and Janet. He didn’t pressure them, and his motto was, “Go out, and live your life”.

While he had a degree in Automotive Engineering, Ray’s skills were honed at work in more of an Aerospace Engineering capacity. He worked with Boeing to create thrust reversers and leading-edge flaps on 747’s. Ray made over 100 trips to Seattle in just one year, to help design and win the flap contract. During his career, he responsible for developing more than one dozen patents.

His designs aided in numerous companies and applications, from the air drive to run a machine gun outfitted submarine (capable of spitting out 7,000 rounds per minute to parts that saved lives to NASA’s space program. He was on a team that was contracted to helped with the Mercury Program, the Gemini space capsule, and the Apollo Program.

Many of you may remember that on Apollo 13, there was an explosion of the oxygen system on the Apollo. When Ray heard about the catastrophic event, he didn’t sleep for three nights, because he thought the valve he’d designed, was responsible.
The three astronauts had no choice but to crowd into a two-man Lunar Module. There, they were able to breathe oxygen coming through the AiResearch valve Ray had designed, and they all survived!

Ray had a brilliant mind, however sometimes he did things that might lead you to believe he may also have a head injury! For example, he’d been known to stop at green lights, he drove home, but forgot his daughter at the hardware store, he failed to remove a frozen meal from the box prior to microwaving it! He also drove to the airport, pulled up to the curb, got out and boarded a flight to Seattle. There was just one problem-Ray flew away while his car sat running at the airport entrance! Ray never learned to fly, because he said, “I would have crashed”!

Ray didn’t waste emotions on anger or sorrow. He said, “Getting angry is a waste of energy; you can focus that energy to make things better”. It annoyed Glen, that his Dad hummed a lot, and always had a song!

His family laughed while reminiscing about him making coffee with the water left-over from boiling hot dogs! It became a family joke-he saw no reason to waste perfectly good, and hot water, just because it had a meaty aftertaste!

Something was bound to go wrong (when Ray was involved) yet things always worked out. On two vacations, the family encountered serious car problems; While visiting Lake Tahoe, he had to buy a new engine;
on the adventure to Yellowstone, he dropped Glen and his friend at a campground, while he, Marjorie and Janet went to town. The trio arrived at the campground later, with a brand-new 4-wheel drive vehicle. Marjorie, however looked a bit worse for the wear; she was upset and crying, because it cost more than their first home’!”
It was a tradition that Ray took his family out each year to find and cut down the perfect Christmas tree. On one of the last trips to cut down a tree, he invited a friend along; Coming back from Payson, Arizona, they had two trees tied to the roof, when his vehicle got a flat tire. He exited the car and was immediately drenched in a downpour of rain, and what did Ray do next? He changed that tire while singing, “Deck the Halls”!

Ray’s interest in sailing began as a young boy. He built little boats and floated them in a pond, and in doing so, learned the physics of sailing. He was 75 when he sailed from Marina del Rey to Catalina. He brought along some of the family-Glen, Rose, Devon, Chantelle, Marlin, Connor and Evan.

They sailed for seven hours, and part of the group travelled by ferry and met up in Catalina; While the group sailed to the other side of the island, they encountered a burst of wind, which sent the boat sharply to one side. The sudden tipping startled the inexperienced passengers and screaming ensued. Ray was the ever-calm sailor and it leveled out and they had a wonderful remainder of the trip! Ray was the happiest on the water.

His family described him as, “What you see is what you get”. He had a heart of gold, and made sure to include everyone, whether at work or with family. He was funny, and you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. He knew his audience and talked to everyone differently.

He was unimpressed when computers became necessary at work. He used a slide rule for most of his career, and told his children, “You should never trust a calculator; learn to do it yourself”.

Ray, was sent to Switzerland for work, so brought Marjorie and Janet along, and they took advantage of a long weekend off, by ice skating and visiting the Alps. Marjorie watched from the sidelines as 50-year-old, Ray and Janet took their first downhill skiing lesson. That was it-one lesson and he was hooked!

He was in love with adventure and had no fear. He broke his leg in a skiing accident, and a stranger had to drive Janet home! After the injury healed, the doctor removed the hardware from Ray’s leg, and he held on to all the “parts”.

He wanted to invent downhill roller blades too. His idea involved 18-inch bike tires with platforms of lumber to strap to the skier’s feet. Thankfully, he never got that one “off the ground”! He also had a big thing for bungee cords, and used them for everything.

He and Marjorie loved being grandparents, and having them come over to visit. They took the grandkids ice skating and most of the older ones got to go skiing as well.

Ray was 99.9% sure of about everything in his field. At his retirement party, they roasted him, and a coworker told his son, Glen, “We never wanted to go to the library. We’d just ask Ray”!

He and Marjorie were members of a bowling league in the 1960’s and he, Janet, Devon and Darienne were on a league together. Ray gave up bowling after he slipped and broke his wrist.

He was a fan of watching Arizona Coyote hockey, Diamondback baseball, and Phoenix Suns basketball games. They also loved coffee, and taking trips to Laughlin, Nevada, where she played the 25cent slots, and he frequented the craps table.

They celebrated 60 years of marriage before Marjorie passed away in December of 2013, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.
Ray dabbled in playing the piano, accordion and guitar. He made his own acoustic guitar, and although he loved music, he wasn’t very good at it. He could sing (very loud) and was a member of the choir at Fellowship Square, where he lived for the last five years.

Ray did have a home computer, but it was relegated to keeping his phone list updated, typing up his autobiography, playing games and keeping a record of all his surgeries and hospitalizations from 1935 until the present. For a man who lived nine decades filled with adventure, the list was surprisingly short. It covered only ¾ of a page.

Journalist-Hunter S. Thompson wrote,
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, “Wow, what a Ride!” And, that’s precisely how Ray lived!

Just as each fingerprint is unique, no two are the same,
it is the same for the impact that our lives have on others. Each of us has a unique soul, and every time we come into contact with others, we leave our soul print.

Now we will each leave our fingerprints upon Ray’s casket, to remain, blend together, and forever signify the impact and soul print his wonderful life has made upon our soul.

This soul print upon our life has touched us each in a different and unique way, which will remain, as we carry these memories in our hearts. Your handprint is that of love and friendship in honor of Ray’s life, and to the belief that “a life shared is a life to never be forgotten.”

In the spirit of Ray’s work and his expertise in science (particularly physics) I would like to read, “A Eulogy from a Physicist”.

Eulogy from a Physicist" by Aaron Freeman
“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.
You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so, they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy — every vibration, every bit of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child — remains with her in this world.
You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point, you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there, in the pew, and tell her, that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you, were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her-constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn, continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely, the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable, and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound, and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around.
According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen”

As our gathering comes to an end, and you prepare to leave, may you take the memory of Ray with you, tuck it in a special place in your heart, and never let him be forgotten. May you honor his life, by not complaining, finding joy in every day, cherishing friendships, and treasuring your family. May you look for adventure, laugh each day, and love with all your heart, for the remainder of your life-just as Ray did.

This concludes the service. Thank you all for coming.