Raymond Peter Kegler
March 6, 1924–May 6, 2020
Raymond Kegler passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 96 in his home on May 6th, 2020. Raymond was born in West Seneca, New York, and as a teenager enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He helped fly four different US bombers as a flight engineer on transports, including the B-24-25, B-17 Flying Fortress and was part of the B-29 testing program. His missions took him to Casablanca, Morocco; the Azores; Newfoundland; Lisbon, Portugal; Marseilles and Paris, France. During his downtime he was also a boxer in the Air Corps and went undefeated in the flyweight and featherweight classes.
After the war, Ray trained and worked as a tool and die maker, but after a short time realized his dreams were in the outdoors. With his friend and partner Gordon Ullenbruch, Ray started G&R Tackle in 1946 in the basement of a grocery store at 2794 Seneca Street. The business was primarily a hunting and fishing sporting goods store with a specialty in fly fishing. When Ray wasn’t in the store, he was in the field testing the quality of the goods they sold. The store closed in 2001 after 55 years in business. The longevity of the business was due in large part to the quality of their goods and the knowledge they had of the regional fields and streams. This, along with their commitment to making the customer feel welcome and part of the family, helped form their legacy.
While continuing to run G&R Tackle, Ray opened Heritage Knife Company located in Eden, NY, which produced high-end hunting knives. Ray collaborated on the design of the first knife called the “Buffalo Hunter.” The knives were highly sought after and collected by individuals such as President Gerald Ford and The Shah of Iran. Ray also served as President of Seneca Square Inc., a local real estate corporation.
Raymond married June Grace Habermehl in 1954 and raised nine children: Jerry (Judith), Marie (Paul) Todd, Kevin (Felice Koenig), Joanne (William) Coville, Alan (Carol Wannemacher), Richard, Thomas (late Kim), James, and Denis (Heather Butler). He had 20 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. He was married for 57 years until June’s death in 2011. In addition to being a great husband and father, Ray was a business owner, an outdoorsman, a collector of stamps, ancient Greek and Roman coins, an amateur gem hound, gold panner, and a great storyteller. Most of all he was a serious adventurer, with an undying zest for life.
He taught his family to get out and do the things you love in life, and to embrace those experiences surrounded by those you love. He took great joy in surrounding himself with his family every chance he could. Using one of his many favorite expressions, his life can be summed up as “Good show!”
Kegler, Raymond Peter. Age 96. May 6, 2020 of West Seneca NY. Beloved husband of the late June Grace (nee Habermehl); loving father of Jerry (Judith), Marie (Paul) Todd, Kevin (Felice), Joanne (William) Colville, Alan (Carol), Richard, James, Thomas (late Kim) and Denis (Heather) Kegler; also survived by 20 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren; son of the late Peter and late Frances (nee Krieger) Kegler; brother of the late Marie (Alfred) Fridmann and late Ruth (Kenneth) Witt. Ray was an owner/partner of G & R Tackle Company in West Seneca from 1946 to 2001, President of Seneca Square Inc., President of Mains/Heritage Knife Company, and a member of the Buffalo Stamp Club, Trout Unlimited, and Ducks Unlimited. In consideration of family safety, a memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced. Online condolences may be left at www.lakesidefuneralhome.com.
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