Rosslyn Ray

Rosslyn Ray, 72, passed away Feb. 29, 2020, in Santa Barbara, CA, after battling pancreatic cancer for more than three years.

Rosslyn is survived by Murray, her husband of 51 years; son Adrian, like her proudly Australian, but currently in Santa Barbara; daughter Natalie, currently living in Chaineux, Belgium; and three grandchildren.

Rosslyn Wendy Guy was born on March 28, 1947, in Kalgoorlie Western Australia, to parents Reg and Florence Guy.

Reg was born in Boulder, Western Australia, and spent most of his life there as a gold miner, apart from his time serving in World War II. Reg served initially in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and then did a second tour of duty in Borneo. He met and married Flo in Melbourne while on leave. After the war, Reg and Flo and Flo’s daughter Jan settled in Boulder.

One of Rosslyn’s great passions was genealogy and so she leaves a very extensive record of the origins of both the Ray and Guy families. The Guys have strong Cornish roots and Rosslyn was very proud of her Cornish heritage and could bake an exceptional Cornish pasty. Rosslyn re-discovered Cornish cousins and reconnected them to the Australian branch of the family.

Her Australian Guys migrated from Cornwell to South Australia to work in the copper mines at Burra. They then moved to the Moonta copper mines and finally some of them to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder gold mines in Western Australia.

On her mother’s side, Rosslyn has both English and Scottish roots. One of her major projects was to take advantage of Murray’s business travel and visit every village her different ancestors came from, find the church in which they were baptized and take a photo of the baptismal font.

Rosslyn traced many family branches many hundreds of years back including one branch back to the 13th century.

Rosslyn’s most interesting discovery was to do with her name. Her mother, whose maiden name was Duncan, had told her it was Scottish. Many years later in her travel with Murray, she visited Rosslyn Chapel (a la “DaVinci Code”) and Rosslyn castle in Scotland, and discovered her mother had not misspelled her name and the Ross Lyn is a rocky glen.

She was quite impressed that she had her own chapel, which she subsequently visited a number of times.

Rosslyn was educated at Boulder Central School and then Eastern Goldfields High School, Kalgoorlie. Rosslyn and Murray were in the same high school class from age 14. Their first date was at age 15 to the school army cadet ball.

Rosslyn studied piano and ballet and become a ballet teacher. Teaching was always Rosslyn’s ambition. Her parents would tell the story of a 6-year-old who would set up a class room and teach a lesson to her pupils who were the cat, the dog and her father.

After completing high school, Rosslyn moved to Perth to attend Claremont Teachers College and the University of Western Australia to complete her teaching qualifications. Her first teaching appointment was back at her old school, Boulder Central School. On her first day, she met the lady who had been her very first teacher, still at that school.

Rosslyn then taught school in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney as the family moved with Murray’s career. She also upgraded her teaching qualifications at the University of Canberra and obtained a bachelor of education from Victoria University in Melbourne.

Rosslyn and Murray were married Dec. 28, 1969, at Queens Methodist Church in Boulder. They immediately moved to Canberra for Murray’s first job after graduation. She then unselfishly moved with Murray’s career, living in Canberra, Bendigo, Melbourne, Sydney, Santa Barbara and a brief but enjoyable time in Shanghai.

Adrian was born in Canberra and Natalie in Bendigo. She also gave up her teaching career when the children were young to concentrate on them. Teaching was such a passion however that she returned to work when the children were teenagers.

Rosslyn loved to travel, she always said, “Going to new places stretches my mind.” She loved to meet new people and was genuinely interested in their culture, their families and especially their food. She was an adventurous eater and was not afraid to sample any dish that locals would offer, no matter where it was in the world.

After she retired from teaching and moved to Santa Barbara, she travelled extensively with Murray on his business trips. She loved to do her own thing and explore while he went to work. Among the places she really enjoyed were the Netherlands, France, Poland, England, Ireland, Japan, China.

She also loved driving holidays with good friends in Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and cruising.

One of Rosslyn’s other passions was Rotary. The Sydney house hosted exchange students from Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and South Africa. Like many of her children’s friends, these people became Rosslyn’s surrogate children and she continued to be their “other mother” for the rest of her life.

Rosslyn was inducted into The Rotary Club of Glenhaven (Sydney) by Sunet, our South African exchange student. Sunet asked Rosslyn:“How come you do all the work but you are not a Rotarian?”

Rosslyn transferred to The Rotary Club of Montecito when she moved to Santa Barbara. She was club president in 2002-03, she also held positions of district assistant governor and executive assistant governor. Rosslyn was a multiple Paul Harris Fellow.

As well as being an adventurous eater, Rosslyn was an adventurous cook. In 1970s and early ’80s Australia, her food choices for the family were very eclectic. In her house it was impossible to guess what would be the country of origin of the next meal.

There was always a Chinese New Year banquet, Bastille Day, Thanksgiving, St Patrick’s Day, Cornish pasties, and her famous Christmas cake with so much brandy-preserved fruit in it the cake will still be good in the next century. She was always copying recipes everywhere she travelled and then would have a go at making them when she got home.

Rosslyn got her gardening gene from her mother. In all her homes much of her time was spent in the garden. Often enjoyed with the different family cats and dogs she was so close to. Her garden gave her real pleasure; even in the final stages of her illness she was puttering in the garden.

Local wildlife was always encouraged to her yard, from arrots and kookaburras in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Santa Barbara every morning she could be heard talking to the numerous different varieties of birds, and even the chipmunks that attended on her every morning for water and food.

In the last days in hospice as she looked out the doors to the garden, she requested a cutting of a particular plant.

Ross will be remembered for her love of life, her love of family and of her extended family. For her very loud infectious laugh. For her welcoming smile. She listened to people and they liked to talk to her. Her legacy will live on.