He was our hero
A rare snapshot of an unsmiling dear uncle. However, even in 1992, Ray was suffering. The cancer was perhaps in the early stages. The shrapnel that the doctors could not remove was traveling about in his body (the doctors monitoring in the event a piece would move near the heart or other vital organs).
Yet, with these physical problems, Ray would bolster everyone else. He encouraged; he cared; he advised (always with that wicked sense of humor!); he loved and he was beloved.
He was an inspiration (and as cousin Berlin commented on a post), he was a most humble man.
He gave us much.
Obituary from the Raton Range:
Raymond Caldwell passed away Oct. 28, 2009, in Springer. He was born to Berlin Caldwell and Elizabeth Sammon Caldwell in Springer May 22, 1931. He enjoyed track in high school, running in the distance events. Few could overtake him and he was known for his endurance and determination.
At the age of 18, he joined the USMC and was deployed to Korea. Joining the Marines was a bit of a family tradition with four of the Caldwell brothers serving in the corps. Ray’s older brother Berlin was killed in Korea in 1950 at No Name Ridge, the Nagtong River. Soon Ray would become another casualty of the forgotten war. He was wounded at an area known as “The Punch Bowl” and was presumed to be dead and placed with other fallen marines. Only on the second day of his rumored departure from this life did someone notice that he was still alive.
He was sent back to Corpus Christi Naval hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he had more than 70 shrapnel wounds, many of which were still lodged in his body for the rest of his life. After a long recovery period, he went back to active duty attaining the rank of GSGT for a time. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 26th Marines attached to the 3rd Marine Division. After 16 years he retired from the Marines to become a postal carrier in Long Beach, California. His daughter Rena (Bell) was born in California and she was the light of his life. After retirement from government service, he moved with his family to Springer where he was to spend the remainder of his life farming and ranching and giving joy to the community. He was known for his smile which would light any room.
He is survived by his wife of the home, Dorothy; his daughter Rena Bell and granddaughter Ashley of Phoenix; one sister, Adella Rich of Maxwell; three brothers Johnny (wife Judy) of Clayton, Fred (wife Juanita) of Springer, Richard (wife Mary Ann) of Amarillo, Texas; four stepdaughters, numerous step-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and hundreds of friends and fellow marines. Anyone who knew Ray loved his cheery smile and easy-going nature. Ray was 100 percent Marine, through and through. Once a Marine, Always a Marine.