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Swan Funeral Home

1224 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT

OBITUARY

Ray Southland

Born February 21, 1961

It is with broken hearts we announce the passing of Ray Southland, born February 21, 1961 in Meriden, CT. Ray is survived by his life-long love his wife Andrea, mother Frances Southland, mother and father in law June and James Dunphy, grandmother Evelyn Mason, brothers and sisters in law Steven and Susan Barker, David Lincoln, Dan Campbell and Lynn Perigard, Rob and Charito Fondry, and his eight nieces and nephews who he loved dearly. Ray was predeceased by his “fathers” Harold Southland and Frank Polito, brothers James and Bill Southland, and sister in law Laura Lincoln.

Among Ray’s many loves, his wife and family always came first. Music and the performing arts, wrestling, education, the beach and dogs were among his passions....and let’s not forget those Red Sox. Ray worked tirelessly to support and encourage every child he met in all facets of his life. Anyone who knew Ray loved him for his sincerity, generosity and huge heart. He brought out the best in all of us.

Ray dedicated his life to helping others, his fierce dedication fueled by his love of children. He volunteered in various roles on many committees and community and professional organizations. He also worked as coach, athletic director, wrestling official, teacher, assistant principal and most recently as Principal of Washington Middle School in Meriden, CT (aka, his extended family). It was in education that Ray felt he could make the most difference.

Ray’s legacy is evident in the countless lives made better by those who knew him. He took a personal interest with intense dedication to help every child he could reach. We all have a “Ray Story” about how Ray has positively impacted our lives and those of our children. The family would love to know your “Ray Story”, so please email it to them at MyRaySouthlandStory@gmail.com.

A memorial service to celebrate Ray’s life will be held on Saturday, August 17th at 10am, at Maloney High School, 121 Gravel St., Meriden. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Ray Southland Scholarship Fund, 22 Liberty St., Meriden, CT 06450. Ray’s wishes were to spend eternity at the beach, so his ashes will be spread privately at the convenience of the family.

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, August 17, 2019

Memories

Ray Southland

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Mary Tobias

August 17, 2019

Ray was the best kind of person to have in a school system. He showed through example, he was firm and kind and he took a genuine interest in the kids and there interests. He touched many lives and all are better for it Ray will be truly missed but never forgotten. The Tobias Family

The Straub Family

August 17, 2019

Andrea please know that we have you and Ray in our thoughts and prayers, now and always. Our deepest sympathies to you and your families.
I consider myself very fortunate and blessed to have Ray in my life.
He is always with me. We love you.

kevin bunnell

July 31, 2019

He was an awesome principal and a person at the same time maybe he's leading a class in heven i just wanted to say thanks ray for all the memories and to the family sorry for your loss

Jennifer Batchelder

July 26, 2019

My heartfelt sympathy to the entire Southland family. Ray was such a kind and fun loving person whom I was lucky enough to call my boss and friend. He was always there for anyone in need and treated staff and students at WMS as family. He even made our families feel like his family. Whenever my son would visit Washington he was greeted with a warm welcome and a hug. He took a sincere interest in him and how he is doing as he did with the families of all his staff members. I feel privileged to have worked with Ray for many years at Washington. He cared deeply for people and made everyone feel special. This summer I was lucky enough to enjoy an evening at his beach house with Andrea and some other WMS and Meriden staff members. While Ray was giving a tour of his home, every time I complimented something, he would say that was Andrea...She did the work...She has great taste ...she picked out the kitchen installed it etc. He gave her all the credit for having their home and for it being so charming. It was easy to see how proud he was of his wife and their home. They were gracious hosts providing delicious food, a fire on the beach and enjoying everyone’s company. It was a beautiful night that I will remember in my heart. I will miss his laughter kindness and joyful spirit

Erika Kallas

July 25, 2019

Ray always had a way of making my daughter smile. He always told her never to settle. Reach higher! So with that being said she came out of her shell an found her groove! We thank u Ray for always being positive an amazing. We will miss u . But we will continue to think of u. Your impact on the students an staff at WMS was truly amazing! Rock the heavens Ray! Much love
❤❤ Erika an Akira Kallas

Larry Krochko

July 25, 2019

I’m so sorry for your loss, RIP Ray, you will be missed.

Jason Gorski

July 25, 2019

Though I have only known Ray for one year, he has truly touched my heart and taught me some invaluable lessons. Number one being to always believe in kids. Ray believed in every student he came into contact with, and every teacher he has mentored. In my first year at Washington, Ray offered a warm welcome.

I remember going to my office over the summer last year, freshly hired and excited. I buzzed into Washington and was asked “May I help you?” by one of the secretaries as they had not yet met me. I replied, “Hi I’m jason Gorski, I’ll be the new school psychologist starting in the fall.” The secretary buzzed me in but not before Ray came onto the speaker and said enthusiastically, “We’ll see about that!” So extremely nervous and anxious by what he meant by that, I walked into the office and was welcomed with an applause and a hug by Ray.

I will miss Ray everyday and will think of this every morning I enter Washington. I hope to be like Ray as I grow into my career further as he did not let years jade him, but rather he was excited by new challenges. Ray was always true to who he was and if you wanted an honest opinion, Ray would always give it to you.

I give my deepest apologies to Ray’s family and friends. Let’s continue to be there for each other, as Ray was there for us.

Hector Cardona

July 25, 2019

Like so many others, my family and I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of knowing Ray. As the Principle of WMS he has created an extended family that will never forget him, and I know we will honor his memory by doing our best to continue his dedication to the children of Meriden. My condolences to Andrea and the rest of Ray's family. May he rest in peace.

With love, the Cardona Family

Christian Kosovic

July 25, 2019

My name is Christian and I just finished as a student at Washington. I really appreciated Mr Southland. I had some challenges with my health growing up and sometimes needed support. When I needed help he was always there for me. Many times I felt so lucky to have him. He made me believe all I could do was possible because he would show he was proud. Just wish I could thank him one more time

Zach Martowski

July 25, 2019

Working at WMS through my university internship was the first working experience of my education career. Ray was not only super helpful, supportive, and positive, but made sure that I felt welcome and a part of the WMS family during my short time at the school. It was evident that Ray cared deeply about the kids and made efforts to really connect with them. He'd go to student events outside of school hours, going above and beyond his responsibilities. Ray left such a positive impact on me and taught me so many important teaching qualities. WMS has suffered a major loss but we will all take what we learned from Ray to better ourselves in the future

FROM THE FAMILY