We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Boulevard Funeral Home and Cremation Service
Raymond “Billy” Palma of New Milford, NJ, passed away on July 17th, 2022 at the age of 72, surrounded by his family. His battle with lung cancer showed his courage in facing his life’s challenges through humor. Despite the pain, Ray fought until the very end—our hero.
Ray grew up in the Union City, NJ home of his late parents, Raymond and Marjorie, before relocating to New Milford in high school. Ray enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1969, forfeiting tickets to Woodstock for his basic training before serving as a Combat Engineer at Misawa Air Force Base in Japan. Upon his return, Ray lived in Sante Fe, NM, serving exquisite cocktails, for some time before returning to New Jersey to begin a thirty-year career at Xerox along with joining the Army National Guard.
It was during this time that Ray met the love of his life, Lori. Ray and Lori became engaged after only six weeks of dating (and a faux pas with his sisters at Hillary’s) and married in 1984. After their children, Alex and Chris, were born, Ray ran for town council in their hometown, New Milford, and served as Councilman from 1996-2001, including time as Police Commissioner. After 9/11, Ray was mobilized with the U.S. Army, serving until 2010, when he retired from the Army as a Colonel, then serving the Department of Defense as a civilian until his retirement in 2019.
Ray was larger than life. He lit up the room with his sense of humor. Ray was an incredible leader, a wonderful husband, and the best dad. He enjoyed music of all kinds, and he was very proud of his music collection—likely the most eclectic you’ve ever heard. Ray and Lori vacationed in Hawaii many times to celebrate their anniversary, and his ultimate retirement dream was to have a vacation home in Honolulu—where his family will scatter his ashes for "another [endless] day in paradise.”
Ray is survived by his loving wife, Lori, and their two adoring children, Alex and Chris. Ray also leaves behind his brother, John Palma and his wife, Maria, and his twin sisters, Patricia Pelican and her husband Richard and Barbara Frierich and her husband Lawrence, his brother-in-law, Edward Gevrekian, and his wife Joann, and sister-in-law, Gail Lemaire and her husband, Thomas. Ray was also uncle to Katharine Pelican, Richard Pelican, Jack Pelican, Emily Frierich, James Frierich, Colin Palma, and Ryan Lemaire.
Ray will be honored with a private celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project or Tunnel to Towers Foundation.