William Bentley Raybuck, Jr., 66, of Buckland, died Friday, June 14, 2019, just two weeks after being diagnosed with aggressive metastatic lung cancer.
Bill was born on May 17, 1953 in Canton, Ohio to Brenda (Wellnitz) and William B. Raybuck, Sr. He and his sister Peggy grew up in Lansdowne, PA, where he was graduated from high school. He earned his bachelor of education degree from West Chester University and later his master’s degree in education at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.
Bill taught at the Devereaux Foundation in PA and in MA he taught special education for the Department of Youth Services at Aquarius House in Colrain and then in the Greenfield public school system. In 1988 he was named Department of Youth Services teacher of the year. In the past six years, he substitute taught in the Gill-Montague and Pioneer Valley Regional districts, also working at Douglas Auctions in South Deerfield.
A lifelong athlete who played football in high school and ice hockey in college, Bill followed his hometown Philadelphia teams as well as Boston teams. He was a committed Eagles football fan and celebrated the team’s 2018 Super Bowl win with his father-in-law Joe.
A talented educator, Bill was truly dedicated to his students and approached each one with enthusiasm and concern for his/her individual needs. His students enjoyed his personality and sense of fun, as did those who knew him. Always ready with a smile, Bill was witty and affable with a tender heart, despite pretending to be something of a curmudgeon.
Bill enjoyed wide-ranging interests. He played guitar and sang in a rock band in his 50s, kayaked, and was a talented photographer. He wrote poetry and enjoyed model trains as much as reading Stephen Hawking. He was an avid news hound who enjoyed relaxing on the boat on the Connecticut River as well as acting with Arena Civic Theater for years and portraying Willy the Clown for children’s events. He ran in the Bridge of Flowers Road Race for many years, dressed as Dracula to entertain the kids at Halloween, and took pleasure in hummingbirds, cricket sounds, setting off fireworks, and simply pondering.
Amazingly, Bill worked until four days before his diagnosis. He never complained and continued bravely, traveling for a week of brain radiation treatments. Two days before his passing, his blue eyes bright and a smile on his face, he enjoyed the last rays of sunshine in the hospital garden.
Bill’s passing has left a dark place where there had been much light; he will ever be dearly missed and much loved.
He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Virginia Ray; his daughters Emily Raybuck (Jesús López-Díez) and Caroling Manning (David); his grandchildren DJ, Martina, Dexter, and Aitana; and his brothers-in-law Harold Smarkola and Joseph Ray.
He was predeceased by his parents, sisters Brenda Jean and Peggy, and father-in-law Joseph Ray.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Church, 17 Severance Street, Shelburne Falls, with Rev. Kate Stevens presiding. Those wishing to make a donation in lieu of flowers can do so to Bill’s favorite charity, The Jimmy Fund, online at jimmyfund.org, by mail to The Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th floor,
Brookline, MA 02445-7226, or by calling 800-525-4669.
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