Raymond R. Rignel

February 7, 1945 ~ March 22, 2024 (age 79) 79 Years Old


Raymond Robert Rignel, 79, of Naples FL passed away March 22, 2024 after a long battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Ray was born on February 7th, 1945, in Roslyn Heights, NY. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, he joined the Navy, was one of 14 in a class of 70 to complete Officer’s Candidate School, and graduated from Naval Flight School to become an Advance Jet Flight Instructor at age 22. As a naval pilot, he served as a Top Gun instructor in 1969, and then flew over 100 missions in Vietnam as an A-6 Intruder pilot based on the USS Kitty Hawk.

After being discharged from the Navy, Ray became a commercial pilot, first flying for Flying Tiger Line, and later for FedEx after FedEx purchased Flying Tigers in 1989. Ray flew for FedEx for 16 more years, and resided in Los Angeles, New York, Anchorage, Memphis and Seattle. When he turned 60 in 2004, then regulations forced him to retire as a commercial pilot. However, Ray did not retire, but rather took his knowledge of flying to Boeing where he was an instructor on the Boeing 777 and 787 until he turned 70.

Ray moved to his beloved Naples, FL in 2012 where he enjoyed time with his friends, and frequenting his favorite hot spot, Aqua. He was an active volunteer; including volunteering for PAWS, a service organization that promotes independence for combat wounded veterans and children with life changing disabilities through partnerships with skilled assistance dogs, as well as giving his time at the Naples Museum of Military Memorabilia and traveling with the Florida State Animal Response Coalition.

He will be missed by all that knew him; especially his frequent bad dad jokes, puns, and terrible dancing moves that couldn't help but make you smile. His children, Todd and Lauren, are unsure how they will gauge the weather every day without their dad calling to tell them their daily forecast. 

Ray is predeceased by his parents, Raymond Arthur and Muriel Rignel, and survived by his sister Linda and brother-in-law John Bertani, his children Todd (Mindy) Rignel, and Lauren Lee, as well as beloved grandchildren Raen and Winter. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ray's honor can be made to the MDS Foundation or SPCA Florida. 

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