~~Raymond “Ray” H. Garst was born on September 17th, 1925 in New York, NY to Arle and Rose Mosher Garst. Ray grew up in Harlem spending most of his youth in the Great Depression. He left school, as many did at that time to begin working to provide for his family which included his sisters Arlene Garst, Lucille Garst Marks, and Helen Garst Franciosa. Ray would always go the extra mile for those he loved throughout his entire life. Whether it be picking up an extra job as taxi driver so his wife could stay at home to raise his kids, or driving his grandchildren to their numerous practices/rehearsals, he always insisted his family get the best that he could give them. In World War II, he served as a chef at Fort Dicks, providing meals for soldiers leaving and returning from war. He continued his professional life as a bus driver for NYTransit where he worked for 35 years.
He met his wife and favorite dancing partner, Cleora “Cleo” Griffen Garst, at the Roseland Ballroom. After marrying in 1962 their love was commemorated on a plaque at the Roseland, now preserved in a museum. They bore two children, Lynn Garst Ridberg and Raymond S Garst. In 1976, Ray moved his family to Stamford, CT to provide more opportunities for his children. He then began his new job at CTTransit as a bus driver. There he became Union Vice President and began work on his unpublished manuscript of his very own driving manual.
One would be remiss not to tell of Ray’s second life as a performer. He acted in many a show at the Sterling Barn Theater (now Curtain Call Inc.), frequented the local karaoke scene with Frank Sinatra ballads, and danced. He danced until the age of 90 with styles ranging from country to salsa with his loving wife, Cleo. Wherever Ray saw a stage, he did it “his way.”
Raymond Garst passed away in his sleep on May 6th. He is survived by his wife Cleo Garst, his children Lynn Ridberg and Raymond S. Garst (Patricia), and his grandchildren Jacqueline Ridberg, Dylan Garst, Deana Garst, and Shelagh Garst.
A special thank you to Patricia Garst, Lynn Ridberg, and the warm staff at Waveny Care Center and Constellation Services for the loving care provided to Ray. There will be a viewing and service held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home 453 Shippan Ave Stamford, CT (203) 359-9999. The viewing will be from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. with a funeral service to immediately follow at 7 pm at the funeral home. To send on-line condolences to the family, please visit www.gallagherfuneralhome.com