Sergeant Raymond Eric Olendzenski, beloved son of Celeste (Campana) Polagruto and step-son of Frank Polagruto of West Tisbury, died peacefully and unexpectedly of pneumonia at his home in Washington State on January 1, 2013. He was 44 years old.
Ray was born on August 11, 1968, in Newport, R.I. He was raised on Fisher Street in Natick and attended Wilson Jr. High School and Natick High School. He attended Northeastern University and was part of the Army ROTC program. He enlisted in the Army and was a proud soldier in the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment /82nd Airborne Division.
Sergeant Olendzenski was a Gulf War Veteran, having served in Operation Desert Shield, Saudi Arabia, and Operation Desert Storm, Iraq. Upon return from the Gulf War he moved to Washington State to train and become a member of the 2nd Battalion/75th Ranger Regiment. Ray was a proud four-time volunteer in the Army: soldier, infantryman, paratrooper, and Ranger.
Upon his retirement from the Army he studied to become a CNA and furthered his education to become a LPN. He enjoyed his job and the friends he made at Linden Grove Nursing home in Puyallup, Wash., where he worked the night shift. He leaves many friends and patients, and his family sends gratitude and thanks to KrisAnn Turner for being a guardian angel for Ray.
Ray loved the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots and was a dedicated New England sports team fan. He was proud to be a member of the Boston Sports Fan Group of Seattle. Some of Ray’s favorite personal quotes were: “That’s the least I can do,” “Priceless,” and, “Lets go have some fun!”
Ray’s list of ultimate favorites includes ketchup(kat-sup), tabasco, pistachios, lottery tickets, and Nintendo 3ds.
Ray enjoyed going to concerts, dining out, and cooking classes at Toscano’s and attending wine tasting events with the love of his life and soulmate, Lillie Barnett MacDicken. They enjoyed visiting Martha’s Vineyard and Fenway Park in 2010 and were engaged shortly after. Lillie and Ray had fun going to sporting events and activities with her four children — Ryan, Miranda, Collin, and Cassandra. Lillie’s parents, Ed and Patricia Barnett, welcomed Ray into their family. Ray’s love for all of us remains.
Ray is missed and loved by his sister Dr. Lorraine Olendzenski Nolan, her husband, Tim Nolan, and their boys, Ryan and Brendan, of Canton, N.Y. An unbroken bond remains with his sister, Kathy O. Chaves Verner, of Edgartown and her husband, Jeff Verner. Ray is deeply missed by brother-in-law Ernie Chaves of Edgartown and the children that proudly called him “Uncle Ray,” Kendall Chaves and his girlfriend, Emiley McCole, as well as Ray’s Godchild, Samantha Chaves, and Mitchell Chaves.
Ray leaves behind a big and beautiful extended family that includes his father, Gerald Olendzenski, Uncle Peter Olend and his wife, Betty, Uncle Dr. Michael Olendzenski and his wife, Carol (Puza). He leaves his cousin Wendy Olend and her fiance, James, and her mother, Donna (Lambert) Dalton. Ray was the grandson of the late Felix and Irene (Doucette) Olendzenski of Needham.
Ray leaves his Uncle Bobby and Aunt Terri Campana of Natick and their daughter, Nicole. Ray leaves his Aunt Lea Campana of Natick and her daughter, Laura Lee, her husband, Bob Russo, and their son, Sean. Ray’s beloved Uncle Johnny Campana passed away the very next day after Ray departed this world. Ray and John are forever together. Ray was the grandson of the late Antonio and Louise Campana of Wellesley.
Ray’s life was brightened by the time spent with his former wives, Jennifer Glawson of Natick and Brandi Edwards of Renton, Wash. Ray will be fondly remembered by his “little sister,” Amanda White Doogan of Schaumburg, Ill.; Cliff Hittner, proud friend and “brother,” and his girlfriend, Elle Skific, of Fort Lee, N.J., recently visited Ray in Washington and have lasting memories of time well spent together.
A special thank you to Chapman, Cole and Gleason for safely receiving and returning Ray’s cremated ashes to the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, and to his family. The Good Shepherd Parish of Martha’s Vineyard will remember Ray and his Uncle John in masses the weekend of February 16-17.
A memorial service will be held in August on the Island. Kindly make donations in honor of Sgt. Raymond Olendzenski’s memory to: The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 with gratitude for Ray’s service as a soldier, infantryman, paratrooper, and ranger.