Ray W. Bortz, 86, of North Falmouth passed away peacefully at home on June 28. He was battling pulmonary fibrosis and COPD for quite some time. He was the husband of Doris A. (Swavely) Bortz.
He will be terribly missed by his 4 children, Bradley Bortz, Karla Bortz, Brian Bortz and Karen Bisienere along with her husband Michael Bisienere. He also leaves behind his 3 grandchildren, Ellysia Moreis along with her husband Joshua Moreis, Leanne Amorim and Katelyn Bortz who affectionately called him Poppie. He had two great grandchildren, Tyler Moreis and Desmond Amorim DeYoung. He was predeceased by his 3 brothers, Richard, Robert and Dan. He had several nieces and nephews, his sister in law and mother in law all from Pennsylvania.
Ray was born in Reading, PA to Ruth Ann and Ralph Bortz, deceased. He and his wife Doris were neighbors and wed in 1960. They just celebrated their 60th anniversary on April 14 of this year.
Ray joined the Air Force and made it his career. He was a proud American and very proud of his 25 years of service. He retired as Chief Master Sergeant and was awarded many medals, ribbons and commendations during his time including a National Defense Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksman ribbon, Air Medal and German Marksman Medal to name a few. Ray never went to college as a young man but was very proud to have earned a two year degree in business while juggling a demanding job and family. He was most proud that he earned a Bronze Star. The nature of this honor was never told as somehow it was top secret and being the military man he was, he never gave up why, not even with all his families prodding.
Ray was stationed at many bases during his 25 year service. He was an Aerospace Control and Warning Systems Supervisor and also Superintendant. He was assigned to Otis Air Force Base in 1963 and flew many many missions out of that base with the 962 Airborne Air Control Squadron. He had some interesting stories from that time. The children have fond memories of him coming home in his flight suit from a mission and picking all his pockets for the flight gum. After he retired from the service in 1978 he took a job with the Postal Service for 12 years. He joked around about being a “triple dipper” with his retirement pay. He was very goal oriented, principled and organized and always planned for the future. Being in the military he traveled a lot with his family and always wanted to see all he could see in the area he was stationed. His last assignment was Neubrucke, Germany. He and his family spent four years there and travelled extensively around Germany as well as, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Lichenstein, Belgium and Holland. He certainly had the travel bug. After leaving the service in 1978, he decided to retire to Cape Cod as out of all the places he had been he just loved it here. He never lost that travel bug and always wanted to see new places and new countries. He was a knowledge junkie, no matter where he went, he wanted to know all about it, and just learn. Imagine being at a museum and having to read every single plaque. Time consuming!!! After he got sick, one of his biggest sadnesses was not being able to travel with his wife anymore. Ray loved boating, fishing and shell fishing. It is the reason he retired to the Cape. His daily routine after retirement was to go down to the beach to read his newspaper and mail and watch the boats in and out. He had an official horseshoe pit in his back yard and “the guys” would come every week to play. He loved his backyard and spent a lot of time throughout the years to make it a fun and beautiful place to hang out. He had tether ball for the kids, box hockey, his horseshoe pit and his beloved swing grill. It was a great place for family and friend gatherings and they all sure had some fun. Some epic food fights were had back there! He loved to bowl and joined a league for many many years. Ray was a water tester with his buddy George Hampson for the Buzzards Bay Coalition. He was a man of great faith and a longtime member of the Christ Lutheran Church volunteering as usher and always lending a hand for small maintenance jobs. Ray was a generous man and donated to too many charities to name. He felt his life was blessed and he wanted to share with the less fortunate. He learned to play the piano when he was a boy and had a love for music. When he went into Hospice care, there was a young man that came to the house with his guitar and would play songs for him. There are several videos of Ray singing along and harmonizing with him. That gave him great joy! Along with music came dancing and he had some comical killer dance moves! His son Brian can imitate them perfectly!
Ray loved baseball. He enjoyed coaching his son Brad when stationed in Eastham and again in Arizona on Luke Air Force Base. He was a huge Red Sox fan and very rarely missed a game whether on tv, on the radio or traveling to Fenway Park. On his 80th birthday, his wife, Doris had a big surprise Red Sox themed birthday party for him. His whole family came from Pennsylvania for the surprise and all his friends. The best time was had by all. Ray was always up for a party and was happy to see all his friends and family celebrating together.
As was said before, he loved any kind of game and even more if a little cash was riding on it. Hence his excitement when he and his daughter Karen made their trips to Foxwoods a couple of times a year. He never once lost money. He started with video poker but Black Jack was his jam! Another loss to him when he got sick was not being able to make that trip anymore.
Family was very important to him. He loved seeing his grandkids and great grandkids and the visits from his family in Pennsylvania were so important. Especially the epic card games. He had a sadness when his last brother Dan passed away and grew even closer to his niece Pam. His oldest daughter Karla was his caretaker along with his wife. She would bake his favorite goodies, take care of the many bird feeders and bird bath, do the shopping during this pandemic and bring him his mail and newspaper, get his medicine, and lots more. Always the nurturer for both Ray and Dori. Together, Brian, Brad, Karla, Karen and mom made his life at the end a happy loving one. He would want to mention that Hospice Care of Cape Cod had some of the most wonderful, kind, caring people working for them. He will be so missed by all as he was the kind of guy that made friends wherever he went. His laugh, his dance, his food fights, his razzing people, his wisdom, his game playing skills, his kindness, his friendly competitiveness, his Poppieism’s, his generosity is a loss to all of mankind!
Visiting hours will be held from 4-6pm on Monday July 6th at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 584 West Falmouth Hwy (Route 28A), WEST FALMOUTH. A funeral service will be held at 10am on Tuesday, July 7th also in the funeral home. Burial will follow at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Disabled American Veterans (ihelpveterans.org) or the Falmouth Service Center, PO Box 208, Falmouth MA 02541.