Tribute to Council Raymond Sugg III (age 83)
Council Raymond Sugg III, of Glendora, California, passed away on October 18, 2019, following a battle with lung cancer.
Raymond, or “Ray,” as he preferred to be called, was born to Council Raymond Sugg, Jr., and Dora Emily Waters in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on October 13, 1936. In 1942, the family moved to Portsmouth, Virginia. World War II had brought with it an opportunity for Ray’s father to obtain employment at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. His paternal grandparents soon followed and bought a house down the street in Portsmouth.
The oldest of eight children, Ray left his parents’ house in 1949, moving a few houses away on the same street in Portsmouth to live with his paternal grandmother, Mary Pauline “Nanny” (Brafford) Sugg. Her husband, Council Raymond Sugg, Sr., had just passed away and it was thought that having Ray live with her would be mutually beneficial. Nanny would get the assistance of a strong young teenager and Ray would benefit from more living space that came with leaving his siblings down the street. Besides, Ray would often stop by his parent’s house and visit with them and his brothers and sisters.
When Ray wasn’t in school he pursued his love of fishing and train watching, dreaming of some day working for a railroad like his Uncle in North Carolina, an Atlantic Coast Line Conductor. He would regularly join his grandmother to ride the train from the Tidewater area of Virginia to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to visit relatives.
Ray graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. He held a few odd jobs in the area, including copy boy for the Virginian Pilot Newspaper, and deck-hand on the Norfolk - Portsmouth Ferry Service. He joined the Army National Guard in 1954, spending summer training deployments at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
In 1958, Ray came to Southern California, seeking better employment opportunities and the adventure of living on the west coast. With the move to California, Ray’s military service transitioned from the Virginia National Guard to the California National Guard. Summer training took place at Camp Roberts, near Paso Robles, concluding with an honorable discharge in 1962. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Ray met the love of his life, Helen, who became his wife in 1959. After living in an Inglewood Apartment from 1959 to 1962, Ray and Helen bought a house in Valinda, near City of Industry. In 1964 and 1965, their sons Gary and Richard were born. In 1976, Ray moved his family to Glendora, where Ray resided for the remainder of his life
Ray was a wonderful husband and father, supporting his wife in her years-long endeavor to earn a College Degree by attending school at night as well as his sons’ scouting activities. Weekends were often spent taking his sons on Railfan trips. Ray would chase and photograph trains and his sons learned about railroading from him. Additional forays with his sons into other hobbies also occurred, such as model railroading, flying model airplanes, visiting aircraft museums, and launching model rockets. Ray’s dream of working for a railroad still beckoned, but his commitment to his family and a steady job in the Paper industry kept him where he was.
Things would change, as a 1979 layoff from his desk job gave him the opportunity to make his lifelong dream come true. With encouragement from his friends already working for the Southern Pacific Railroad, he applied for a position as a clerk at a railroad yard in Los Angeles. This was a tedious job, working at night, but it was his foot in the door. By the fall of 1979, Ray had successfully transferred into engine service, becoming a Locomotive Fireman. He would spend the next few years learning to become a Locomotive Engineer. After enduring a year-long layoff, due to the 1980-1981 recession, Ray was promoted to Locomotive Engineer.
Ray had achieved his childhood dream, and ran trains between Los Angeles and West Colton, West Colton to Yuma, and sometimes worked local freights and yard jobs in the Los Angeles basin. In 1996, Southern Pacific was purchased by Union Pacific, and he spent his last few years on the railroad working for the iconic Omaha based company. In 2000, Ray retired, giving him more time to focus on his hobbies, travel, and activities with friends and family.
Ray, a practicing Catholic, was involved in the Saint Vincent De Paul Society through his local parish, Saint Dorothy Catholic Church in Glendora.
Ray is survived by his sons Gary (Wife - Mary) and Richard (Wife - Pilar), and grandson David. Surviving siblings are Sylvia Syromi, Ruth Casey, and Joseph Sugg.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife Helen Teresa (Lorden) Sugg, parents Council Raymond Sugg, Jr., and Dora Emily (Waters) Sugg, Brother William Sugg, and Sisters Mary Thornton, Linda Roberts, and Betty Brittain.
Visitation, including a rosary service at 7:00 p.m., will be held at White’s Funeral Home in Azusa on Thursday evening, November 7, 2019, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A funeral mass will take place at Saint Dorothy Catholic Parish in Glendora on Friday, November 8, 2019, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Burial will immediately follow at Oakdale Memorial Park in Glendora.
To send flowers to Council's family, please visit our floral section.