Raymond Dansfield, 83

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Raymond “Ray” Dansfield went to the Lord on Dec. 21, 2018, after a brief illness resulting from a fall at his home in St. Joseph.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Community Church of Douglas, 6874 Wiley Road, Douglas, MI; on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m.

Ray was born in St. Joseph on Nov. 2, 1935. His father was Frank Denison, a well-known yacht builder in both Saugatuck and Fort Lauderdale, and his mother was Gladys (Petersen) Dansfield of St. Joseph who married Frank Dansfield, and who raised Ray as his son.

Ray’s wife and soul mate of 32 years, and who preceded his death, was Kay Marie Zitta-Dansfield who died in October 2011. He is survived by his brothers, Kenelm W. Denison, Franklin A. Denison Jr, and Christopher W. Denison, all who live in South Florida, as well as his sister-in-law Clara Dansfield of St. Joseph and her two sons, Jim Dansfield and Gary Dansfield; and his nephews.

Ray was preceded in death by his brother Donald Dansfield in 1996.

Ray graduated from St. Joseph High School and then attended the University of Miami in 1953. After that he joined the United States Navy and was stationed in Alaska and then finished college at the University of Colorado.

He then moved to London to work at the Royal Opera House where he stayed and lived for over a decade. It was there that he developed his love for not only opera but the fine ballet company that was also in London. Classical music was his passion as well. 

After this he moved back to the St. Joseph area and worked at Northwestern Airlines at the St. Joseph Benton Harbor airport before he met Kay Zitta, whose parents owned and operated Zitta’s Grill in St. Joseph and where they both owned and managed The Depot (now Silver Beach Pizza) from 1989-1997 at Lion’s Park Beach.

Both Kay and Ray were an important part of the food culture of St. Joseph at that time. Ray and Kay “made it official” and married at the courthouse in St. Joseph in Dec. 9, 2005.

Ray’s gracious and loving character was evident to anyone who met him. “He was a gentle man,” was a phase often said about him.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel of St. Joseph, Michigan. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com.


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