Richard Rayman, 96, of Cape Coral, formerly of East Unity, NH and Long Beach, IN, passed away on May 5, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Susan; a son, Paul Rayman (Lynette); daughters Jane Vitaniemi (William) and Patricia Harris (Jay); and daughter-in-law Janice Rayman, and by nine grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Alan Rayman; his sister, Michelle; and his brother, Stanley.
Born on August 14, 1925 in Lviv, Poland (now part of Ukraine), he was the son of the late Viktor and Rosalia (Palka) Rejman.
Richard was just 14 when World War II broke out. One morning in September of 1939, he awoke to the sound of bombing and outside he saw that the whole town of Lviv was on fire. “German aircraft were dropping bombs on everything still standing,” he recalled. Soon, the Polish double-eagle crest on the wall of his school classroom would be replaced with a swastika. Later when Germany was forced to withdraw to the west, and the Soviet Union occupied Lviv, the swastika was replaced with a hammer and sickle. At age 16, with Germany pushing into Poland from the west, and Russia pushing from the east, Richard quit school, said goodbye to his family and joined the Polish Resistance Movement (Polish Underground Army). Members of this group lived individually with Polish families during the day, and were active fighters at night. Richard had many stories about his time in his life.
Though the war in Europe had ended in September of 1945, the US was still at war with Japan. Richard and other members of the Resistance Movement were taken into the US Army and given jobs previously held by US soldiers who had been deployed to the Eastern Front. Richard’s job was to guard the BMW factory in Munich that was then being used as a munitions depot.
After the war ended, Richard left Poland for England where he met and married Jean Lewin. He attended Southwest Essex Polytechnical College and School of the Arts in London on a scholarship and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. In England he worked for DeHaviland Aircraft Company, where he designed test equipment for jet aircraft engines. He also was employed by a division of the British Oxygen Company, where he designed an inflation device for life vests, much like those used on aircraft today. He also designed an inflatable 20-person life raft that could be deployed from a ship.
Richard and his wife and 5 year-old son, Alan, moved to Kent, Ohio in 1959 for an engineering position with Davey Compressor Company, and later moved to Michigan City, Indiana, where he was employed as an engineer in the Compressor Division of Joy Manufacturing Company for many years. Richard became an internationally recognized expert in the field of screw compressors. He retired from Joy in 1988. Richard and Jean’s marriage ended in 1968 shortly after they moved to Long Beach, Indiana.
With his children, Richard enjoyed swimming in Lake Michigan as well as skiing and camping.
Shortly after retiring from Joy, Richard accepted a position as Chief Engineer with Sullivan Industries in Claremont, NH. It was there that he met Susan Ryan. The two married in 1990 and lived in East Unity, NH, until 2000 when they both retired and moved to Cape Coral, FL. Richard continued his association with Sullivan as a consultant until he was 88.
Richard and Susan enjoyed skiing and traveling – including trips to Mexico, Aruba, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Germany, and Austria – and kept busy at home with gardening, camping, day trips and occasional trips to the beach. Richard loved TV westerns and classical music, enjoyed cooking certain things – including stuffed cabbage – and was an avid Suduko player. He was a member of Faith Presbyterian Church. Always the engineer, Richard had a reputation as a person who could repair anything! He was a most kind, intelligent, and loving person and he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
Memorial services will be held 2:00 PM Friday, June 10, 2022 at Faith Presbyterian Church (in the Hunt Chapel), 4544 Coronado Parkway, Cape Coral, FL 33904 with Rev. Dr. Nancy Kahaian officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity.
Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.