Rutland man shows no sign of slowing down at 103
By Anders Ax
Staff WRITER | January 30,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Edward Raymond celebrated his 103rd birthday Tuesday with a luncheon at The Loretto Home in Rutland. 01/20/13
Edward Raymond is a man of few words. When he sat down to lunch at the Loretto Home on Tuesday, he was distinctly quiet, despite all the well-wishing from the other residents and aids — he had just turned 103 years old.
When asked how he’d lived so long, he laughed and responded dryly, “I don’t know. Minding my own business, I suppose.”
Raymond was born on a farm in Colchester, and said that he had worked on a farm for most of his life and been interested in woodworking and crossword puzzles. He’d also worked as a custodian, a truck driver, served at Fort Sills in Oklahoma during World War II and was a handyman in the ’50s and ’60s in Burlington.
Despite retiring in 1976, Raymond would go back to work and deliver paperwork and run errands for his niece, Hazel Dunkling, owner of Ray’s Seafood Market in Burlington, until he was 92 years old.
“He worked for her right up until he couldn’t work anymore,” Wayne LaBonte said beside his stepfather.
Raymond would often get on trucks with other delivery guys and ride with them all day until he was picked up. Riding on trucks was something he loved to do. One of his most favorite things to do at the Loretto Home was ride on the bus during their spring field trips said Anne Marie Seeley, Loretto Home’s activity director.
LaBonte recalled the day that Raymond had to give up his license at 93 years old.
“Let me just tell you,” LaBonte began, “It was the most unpleasant I’ve ever seen him.”
An unpleasant reaction from Raymond was alien. LaBonte mentioned that he couldn’t remember a time where Raymond reacted differently than expected. He even said that he could “almost predict him in every scenario.”
LaBonte’s wife, Donna, said that Raymond wasn’t private so much as he was really quiet and had “never been one for big crowds.”
The LaBontes said that Raymond would be the one family member to show up to a birthday party “at least half an hour before anyone else” and then leave without ever saying goodbye. And it wasn’t for certain family members, the LaBontes assured.
“He did it for everyone,” LaBonte said. “You’d look around and he’d be gone, that’d be for anyone.”
But that was almost Raymond’s sense of humor. A sense of humor so dry, the LaBontes said, that if you missed it, it was instantly gone.
At Loretto Home, when Raymond walked into the meal room while holding a cane, residents greeted him with calls of “Mr. Ed” or “grandpa.” The LaBontes even call him gramps, after their children adopted the name for him. Even distant relatives call Raymond gramps now.
The LaBontes hypothesize that Raymond’s ‘aged-success’ has been because of three factors: perpetual patience, no stress and never completing a meal.
The LaBontes said that Raymond could eat 10 snacks a day 10 bites each, yet would never complete a meal.
After moving into Loretto Home four years ago, the LaBontes said Raymond never complained about being there. They also said they believe he is extremely content, comfortable and makes the best of every situation.
“Everyone loves him here, said Cindy Johnson, who lives on the same floor as Raymond. “He was always a joking guy.”
Raymond, residents said, could be found puttering up and down the hallway on his floor or out on the sun porch. And though Raymond is 103, Beth Laramie, administrative assistant, said he doesn’t use a walker.
“He’s great,” Laramie said. “No walker, barely uses his cane. When you consider people that are 50 years younger that use a cane — that’s a good sign. He’s in pretty great condition.”