Raymond A. McClure

June 27, 1933 - December 5, 2020 Kennett Square, PA | Age 87

Raymond A. McClure, Jr., of Kennett Square, passed on December 5, 2020 after a brief illness.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Katherine McClure Ash, and his wife, Laura Conner McClure.

He is survived by his fiancee, Mary DeStafney; his son, Mark (Mary), of Franklin TN; his daughter, Amy Cook (Charles), of Griffin, GA; grandchildren Nathan (Candace) McClure and Lauren McClure; and two great grandchildren: Sarah McClure and Layla McClure.

Born on June 27, 1933 in West Chester, PA, “Ray” was the son of the late Raymond A. McClure and the late Mabel (Hickman) McClure.

Ray graduated from West Chester High School in 1951. He worked briefly with Bell Telephone CO. of PA before joining the Navy where he served from 1951-1955. He served on the U.S.S. Requin as a submarine fire controlman. Upon leaving the Navy, he resumed his career with the phone company, retiring from AT&T.

Ray harbored a great love of the outdoors and was an enthusiastic amateur arborist, ornithologist, and botanist. Over a forty-year period, he painstakingly transformed the ground of his two homes in Downingtown into personal arboretums. This led him to first volunteer and then work at Longwood Gardens from the mid 1990’s through 2019. He delighted in sharing the Gardens with visitors, friends, and family and treasured the many friends he made during his time there.

He was an avid supporter of and volunteer for BSA Troop #70 in Thorndale, PA, making two trips in the mid 1970’s to Philmont Scout Reservation where he shared his love of hiking, camping, and connecting with nature.

He nurtured a lifelong love of music and was particularly fond of the Philadelphia Orchestra during Eugene Ormandy’s tenure. Even though he couldn’t carry a tune, he had broad taste in music and an ear for the eclectic. He found beauty in unexpected ways and places.

Ray will be remembered for his love of puns, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and coffee ice cream. We will miss his warmth of spirit, generosity, and devotion to family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Ray’s honor and memory to Longwood Gardens (Pierce’s Walk) at: https://longwoodgardens.org/support/honor-and-memorial-gifts or

His family will convene a memorial and celebration of his life at a later date.


  1. So sad to just learn of Rays passing. Ray and Laura were our next door neighbors for close to 30 years. They were always there to lend a hand and to guide us with gardening questions. In later years I always delighted in running into Ray at Longwood. Such a wonderful person.

    Helène Reid | May 17, 2021 at 8:51 PM
  2. A dog is a good judge of character. Whenever Zoe met Ray, it was a highlight of her walk. We will miss Ray’s kind demeanor and we are praying for comfort for Mary and for Ray’s family.
    Fran, Carol and Zoe

    Fran Krawiec | December 20, 2020 at 1:44 PM
  3. Ray and I worked together at Longwood for 15 years. What a fun guy to be around! And very smart; he knew all the secret spots around the place. If he liked you, he would take you to see some of them. He took me on my first tour of the conservatory roof….at night!, at Christmas time! We were up there in the dark looking down into the building through the glass roof at all of those happy visitors! God Bless Ray.

    John Bertram | December 19, 2020 at 11:55 AM
  4. I worked with Ray and everyone that worked with Ray liked him. I went to breakfast with Ray occasionally and will miss those times. He was a great guy. I will miss him very much.

    Zello Davis | December 17, 2020 at 6:00 PM
  5. yes, I agree with the Miles’ family we will miss you I work with you at Longwood Gardens and we had many good laughs my prayers are with you. Richard Reeved

    Richard H. Reeves | December 14, 2020 at 7:14 PM
  6. We will miss our good friend.

    William and Sarah Miles | December 12, 2020 at 9:51 AM

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