CONWAY, MASS. — Ray Van Gelder died peacefully in her home on November 12, surrounded by her loving family and caregivers. She was 94 years old.
From the mid-1960s until well into the next millennium, she was proprietor of Conway House Antiques in Conway. Through the business and involvement in managing many fine shows in the Northeast, she made numerous friends and had many associates in the business.
Born Ray Gold in New York City on September 17, 1919, to Rose and Harry Gold, she grew up the youngest of four siblings. Ray and her husband Jack celebrated 70 years of their beautiful marriage on July 28, 2013. They met coincidentally when they both applied and were hired for the same drafting job advertised in The New York Times. Married after only eight weeks of knowing each other, their only time apart during their married life was the 22 months that Jack served overseas during World War II.
Ray’s myriad talents were a constant source of amazement to her family and wide circle of friends. Trained in industrial design, her earliest professions were textile design and marine drafting. She and Jack owned a chicken farm in New City, N.Y., for nine years before moving to New England. In Conway, the town they called home for 40 years, Ray impressed those who knew her with her abilities in the visual arts, her gardens that stopped traffic, her highly respected antiques business and her skills as an antiques show manager.
With Jack she shared a passion for travel and together they touched lives and made friends around the globe. A lively conversationalist with a wry sense of humor, she will be remembered for her warmth, loyalty, compassion and kindness to all.
Along with her husband Jack, Ray is survived by her daughter Elizabeth, son Robert, daughter-in-law Elaine and granddaughter Kiera. A celebration of her life was conducted on November 23 at the Unitarian Church in Northampton, Mass.