Raymond Steinberg was born June 5, 1932, in St. John’s Hospital, Port Townsend and died looking at the trees in Fort Townsend State Park outside his window at home in Kala Point, Port Townsend, on Nov. 8, 2022.
Between those two bookends was a man who was a poet, a writer, a choral singer, a teacher, a librarian, a confidant, a comforter, a seeker, a friend, a neighbor, a father, son, brother, uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa, a lover of trees, a splitter of firewood, a respecter of nature, a digger of clams, a beach walker, a mountain hiker, a trout fisher, an adventurer, a traveler, a lover of country music and classical music, secular music and sacred music, a lover of all dogs and cats, a gentle soul, and for 42 years a husband.
His life included two daughters and one stepson and all their spouses, six grandchildren and all their spouses, seven great-grandchildren, and countless numbers of junior high school students in English, Music and Writing classes and in the school library searching for the right book to read. His circles of volunteer work in Port Townsend included Jefferson County Library working reading the stacks, Jefferson County Library Board of Directors, Copper Canyon Press, Friends of Fort Townsend State Park, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. His love of singing was realized with Community Chorus, Rainshadow, St. Paul’s Church choir, Gilbert & Sullivan productions of "Pirates of Penzance," "The Mikado" and "HMS Pinafore," plus singing along with Alexa while brushing his teeth at night.
His love of words and story produced a dozen children’s books and stories, each subjected to his love of writing and re-writing till it was just right. His final accomplishment was editing and publishing his Uncle’s children’s book, "South Bentinck Summer." His computer file held dozens of poems written after walking in the woods or observing a bee on the concrete driveway or going down Memory Lane as a child on the family’s Discovery Road farm. He constantly had one or two books on the reading table, usually books recommended by his children and grandchildren. His nighttime practice over past years was listening to the Bible read aloud a chapter at a time, except for the Book of Numbers.
He relished going down the unexplored path and the “road less traveled,” and his life was grounded in lasting friendships and selfless giving.
Freedom is a grassy field without paths or fences.
In the distance a vague shadow of forest only
suggests a boundary.
And freedom is a new document with countless
megabytes of memory. A vague awareness
of my beating heart only suggests a boundary.
-- R.S. 2009
A Memorial/Celebration of Life will be held for Ray at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, inside The Friends Barn among the trees at Fort Townsend State Park at the end of Old Fort Townend Road in Port Townsend.