Ray Gailey


Ray Gailey of Edgartown, a gentle, strong, funny, handsome, quiet, singular, and private man who had a lifelong love for being in or on saltwater, died peacefully at home March 28, 2016. He was 68.

Ray was born on Sept. 13, 1947, in Pawtucket, R.I. to Raymond J. Gailey Sr. and Jeanne Dubois Gailey. He grew up in Pawtucket, and spent summers in Dennis Port on Cape Cod and in Little Compton, R.I., with his cousins. He graduated from Tolmen High School in 1965, and attended Rhode Island Junior College, where he learned drafting.

Ray worked with his uncle Ray Kempton at ITT Grinnell for a short time, and then lived one winter in Dennis Port working as a carpenter before he moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1970, where he had worked as a lifeguard in the summer of 1969, and where his love for the sea found a natural outlet.

Ray worked on a number of fishing boats, including the Dana J, the Aquarius, the Olympic Star, the Olympic Javelin; and with Danny Larsen on the Sea Gull; and with Turtle Lawry on the Isle of Shoals and the Sea Pearl; and many other boats, until he started staying closer to shore to dig clams, tow for scallops, farm oysters, and design and build houses.

Ray had an inquiring and inventive mind, evident in his inventions to make digging quahogs easier and in his house designs. He had a sharp, dry wit and loved practical jokes and starting ridiculous rumors.

He leaves behind dozens of heartbroken friends; his aunt Florence Morris of East Greenwich, R.I.; uncle Albert Kelley Sr. of Rumford, R.I.; and cousins Al Kelley Jr., Mike Kelley, Cindy Laird, Dwayne Everson, Arlene Cooke, Linda Borges, and Janice Russell. He was predeceased by his parents and cousin Brian Kelley.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, June 18, at 1:30 pm at the American Legion Hall Post 186, Katama Road, Edgartown. Donations to the Ray Gailey Memorial can be sent c/o P.O. Box 875, Edgartown, MA 02539.