Thursday, April 4, 2013
Raymond Octave Dion, 96, a longtime resident of Summerville, departed this life on March 25th, 2013 at the home of his daughter in Easley, SC. The son of Octave Joseph Dion and Marie Claudia Theriault, he was born February 2nd, 1917 in Salem, MA. He graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. Degree in Industrial Engineering and later attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he became certified in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. A World War II and Korean War veteran, he retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain after 30 years of service. He worked for the SC Electric and Gas Company, Dorchester Fabrics, and later Garco-Raybestos Manhattan before his retirement. While at Garco he helped design and manufacture the shoes worn by astronauts who walked on the Moon.
He met and married Lt. jg. Eleanor Buswell Walker of Summerville in 1943 while serving in the Navy. They celebrated 54 years of marriage before her death in 1997. Together they had four children: Dr. Eleanor Walker Nault of Easley, Col. Thomas Raymond Dion of Summerville, Mary Dion Georgion of West Union, and William Humphreys Dion of Charleston. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother, Arthur Joseph Dion of Salem, his sister, Irene Dion Payne of Chatham, NJ, his second wife, Myra Howell Thomas, and his stepdaughter, Karen Thomas Douglas, both of Summerville.
An avid sailor in his youth, he was a founding member and first Commodore of the Northeastern University Yacht Club, and was the Intercollegiate Sailing Dingy Champion in 1938-39. He returned to the University for his 50th Class Reunion to present the Sailing Team with a silver trophy to be awarded annually to the winner of the Kathy Bryan Memorial Alumni Regatta. He also took great pleasure in music, having played the violin, and shared this appreciation with his children and grandchildren. His favorite hobby was collecting clocks and before being stricken with Alzheimer's disease, he was an accomplished woodworker who had inherited a gift for building and refinishing furniture from his father.
He served for several years as President of the Summerville Camellia Society and had been a member of the Timrod Library Board of Directors. He was an active member of the Summerville Preservation Society and St. Paul's Episcopal Church where he had been a member of the vestry. He and Eleanor shared a love of genealogy, and with her assistance, traced his roots back to Mortagne, France. After making this discovery they had the opportunity to visit the city of his origins on several European excursions. He was a member of the Dion D'Amerique Association.
In addition to his four children, one stepson, Mark Richard Thomas of Summerville, one niece, Gloria Dion Hart of Hamilton, MA, he is survived by seven grandchildren: Philip Washington Fairey IV, Walker Fairey Massey, Cameron Richardson Dion, Mary Ellen Georgion, Nelson Dion O'Quinn, Josephine Dion Redmond, Grace Margaret Dion, and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Thomas Walker Dion in July 2012.
A memorial celebration of his life will be held on Thursday afternoon, April 4, 2013 at 3 o'clock in St. Paul's Church. A reception to greet the family will follow in Doar Hall. Interment in the church cemetery prior to the service will be private. For those who wish to make a memorial gift in his honor, the family suggests the following: The Ark, 206 Central Ave., Summerville, SC 29483, The Timrod Library, 217 Central Ave., Summerville, SC 29483, St. Paul's Church, 111 Waring St., Summerville, SC 29483 or Amedisys Hospice, 1027 Physicians Dr., Suite 240, Charleston, SC 29414.
Arrangements by Parks Funeral Home, 130 West 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483.