86 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
Ray attended Britannia Secondary School where he acquired his passion
for rugby, a sport he pursued for over 50 years. He also acquired a lifelong
friend in William E. Esson, who would later become chief justice of the B.C.
Supreme Court. He also rubbed shoulders with Dave Barrett, who would
later become premier of our province. Many of these rugby pals were part
of an ex-Britannia Rugby Club tour to Japan. As to the sport, it was once said
that because he played without his glasses, Ray would tackle anyone with
the ball. At later times he travelled to view international matches.
In 1960 Ray married Florence Barton, another graduate of Britannia and
a secretary for one of his union clients. Ray is survived by his son Martin,
daughter Laura, sister Margaret, brothers Tom, Maurice, Phil, and Clive,
three grandchildren and thirteen nieces and nephews. In 1996 he was reintroduced
to Diane Sawyer, a Britannia classmate. They spent many happy
Ray entered the practice of law in the post–World War II era. There were
still streetcars. Some office buildings had elevator operators. Office support
involved manual typewriters with carbon paper, dictaphones, landline telephones
with a front desk switchboard, “wet process” photocopiers and manual
bookkeeping. Law firms worked a five-and-one-half-day week.
Proceedings at court required handcarts of law books painstakingly collected
at the law library. Computers and the internet were only on the distant
In the 1960s the firm office was in the Rogers Building. One day a litigious
nuisance of a man caused a commotion in the foyer by hoisting a
member of the firm by the necktie and carrying him into the corridor. Ray
rushed out and shouted, “Put that man down!” He did, and the incident
ended. That person causing the ruckus was interdicted under a statute later
In his practice Ray acted as counsel for trade unions that represented
teamsters, operating engineers, labourers, nurses and teachers, among
many others. As counsel he appeared at all levels of court including the B.C.
Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. In one proceeding a
judge suggested that he was advocating for a position that would lead to
chaos in the workplace. His quick reply was, “No, my Lord … to freedom.”
With the advent of the B.C. Labour Code in 1974 matters such as rapid
response applications for injunctions were largely removed from the courts
in favour of proceedings before the freshly constituted Labour Relations
Board. Ray became a pre-eminent counsel before the board, where he was
involved in numerous reported precedent-setting cases. Throughout his
career he was active in labour arbitration.