Raymond George Kalil

September 29, 1929February 11, 2018
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Raymond George Kalil

Raymond George (Ray) Kalil, 88, of Brentwood, Tennessee, peacefully passed away Sunday, February 11, 2018, surrounded by love. He will forever be remembered for his heroism, leadership, integrity, kindness, wit, and wisdom.

Ray was born in Bayonne, New Jersey to George and Rashide (Boasile-Koury) Kalil on September 29, 1929. He was the youngest son and much beloved by his parents, brother George Kalil and sisters Rose Kalil, Martha Taussig, and Lorraine Dowling. Deeply intelligent, Ray attended Bayonne City schools and graduated from Bayonne Junior College, later acquiring a BA in Economics from Gettysburg (PA) College and a Masters Degree in Mathematics from Hofstra University (NY). In addition, he worked towards his PhD in history and mathematics, and was the recipient of four National Science Foundation grants at various SUNY campuses.

Ray proudly served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Korean War. After sixteen weeks of Basic Training at Fort Dix, he was sent to Fort Bliss for Officer Candidate School. Ray was appointed Commander of B Battery with the 45th Division Armor Unit, serving on the front lines in Korea until his discharge in December 1953. As a decorated war hero -- awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars for Distinguished Service and the Korean Order of Military Merit -- his courage, strength, and leadership skills were put to the ultimate test, yet he did not lose one man under his command, a fact he was proud of for his entire life.

Following the war, he met Rosemarie (nee Calabrese), the absolute love of his life. They married in 1956, residing in Blue Point, Long Island New York where Ray taught mathematics at Bellport (NY) Senior High School and served as Assistant Principal while working on his PhD. Ray is remembered by many former students for his mentorship and ability to bring students together during the challenges of the 1960’s. Ray is also remembered as a hero at the school. On March 8, 1963, what remains one of the largest school fires in the U.S. broke out at Bellport High, threatening the lives of over 800 students. Ray once again showed his bravery, risking his own life repeatedly to save dozens of students and was lauded for his heroism in the local papers.

Ray’s career took a dramatic turn when he and Rosemarie became early members of Weight Watchers and later, successful franchisees, bringing them to Nashville in 1968. Ray devoted fifty years working with Rosemarie to help hundreds of thousands of members throughout Tennessee achieve healthy lives. Ray also served for many years as a Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Weight Watchers Franchisee Association, helping guide the business in its service internationally. Esteemed by his associates, Ray is remembered for his thoughtful leadership and great sense of humor.

Ray and Rosemarie were active in many civic groups and charitable organizations including Easter Seals, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the MidSouth Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Ray was devoted to the mission of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, asking all his family and friends to donate in lieu of birthday and Christmas gifts.

He was also a proud founder and long-time president of the Tennessee State branch of the Korean War Veterans Association. Ray worked for many years to bring attention to the efforts and sacrifices of his fellow veterans, delivering innumerable speeches, creating displays for the State Fair, serving breakfast to veterans at Operation Stand Down, and organizing participation in the Nashville Veteran’s Day parades. With his leadership and coordination of significant lobbying over many years, the City of Nashville changed the name of Gateway Boulevard to Korean War Veterans Boulevard and dedicated the iconic Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge in Downtown in 2006.

Ray and Rosemarie were very active in their church, Brentwood Baptist. Ray greatly enjoyed the fellowship of his Tuesday morning Bible Study group and the many happy social events as dedicated church members.

Ray was passionate about flying, earning his pilot’s license at the age of 60 and spending the next two decades flying at every opportunity surrounded by best friends and great colleagues. Ray and his friends maintained a private hanger at Nashville Metropolitan Airport that served as a fabulous club house. Ray also became involved as a commander with the Tennessee Civil Air Patrol and as a Colonel with the Tennessee State Defense Force.

While deeply engaged in the community and his work, Ray was a beloved husband, amazing father, devoted brother, esteemed uncle, doting grandfather, and dear friend to many. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 62 years, Rosemarie of Brentwood; loving sister Lorraine Dowling of Bayonne, NJ; adoring daughters Carolyn Kalil (Joe Polenzani) of Brentwood, TN and Nashua Katherine Kalil (Louis Fox) of Berkeley, CA, and beloved son Mark Kalil of Brentwood, TN; three wonderful grandchildren: Eran George Kalil of Bellingham, WA, Siona Ashra Kalil of New Orleans, LA, and Katherine Marie Polenzani of Boulder, CO; and 14 nieces and nephews – all greatly loved. He will live on forever in our hearts, surrounding us with his spirit.

Visitation will be 4:00 – 7:00 pm on Friday, February 16, 2018 at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home in Nashville, 660 Thompson Lane. The funeral service will be held the following day, Saturday February 17, also at Woodlawn, beginning at 2:30 pm, with burial afterward. Ray asked that donations in his memory be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105-3678.


  • Visitation Friday, February 16, 2018
  • Visitation Saturday, February 17, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 17, 2018


Raymond George Kalil

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Judith Taylor

February 18, 2018

My father thought the world of Ray. He spoke of him and his incredible intelligence with reverence. Of course, Lord knows they both got up to some mischief along with Tom, Larry, Father Guido, and so many others, while hanging out at the "Clubhouse". When the gang got together, the years fell away and they were just boys --having fun.
I like to think that all those sweet "boys" are up in heaven now, chuckling, and having a grand time.
Please know the McHenry family is praying for you in your time of grief.

shirley hutsell

February 17, 2018

My dear Rosemarie,
Condolences to you and your beautiful family. I was in you ww group off and on for several years and the group was a family. Therefore, thru you I felt like I knew Ray also. You remain my dear friend whose influence comes to mind so often. My heart is saddened for you and I ask God's peace for you and your family.
Blessings and love,
Shirley Hutsell

Luann Landers

February 17, 2018

Carolyn, so sorry to hear about your dad. He seemed quite the man. Know that the girls from SBA send their condolences.
Luann Nicholson Landers class of '78

Isaac Grant

February 16, 2018

May you fly with angels. Rest in peace Mr. Kalil.

Cheri Brandon

February 16, 2018

I have never met a kinder or gentler man. My husband David, and I feel very blessed to have been in his presence. He had a quiet strength and a welcoming peace that In cased us with his warmth. I celebrate his life , grieve for his passing , take joy in the hope that all that loved him so will be reunited with him.

February 16, 2018

Rosemarie and family,

As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers since 1980 I was saddened to learn at Weight Watchers last night about the loss of your husband and father.

May God be with you all

Peggy Coleman

February 15, 2018

May the love and support of family and friends lift you and yours in this time of loss. Ray is flying with the angels.

Jennifer Pearson

February 13, 2018

so Sorry about the passing of Ray. I know that he will be missed by all who crossed his path and especially by his family. Everyone is in my prayers.

Linda Claytor

February 12, 2018

As the Lord welcomes Ray, may you all feel His comfort as you suffer the separation. I rejoice knowing that this kind and gentle soul will long be remembered by those of us who called him friend and boss! I love you all!