Raymond Wallace Tryon, 90, of Monterey died Saturday, Nov. 16, at home surrounded by his loving family.
Ray was born Sept. 28, 1929, in Monterey, son of Albert Wallace and Marquerite (Stedman) Tryon. From a young age, he was fascinated with machinery and had an intuitive sense about how things worked. He spent his free time in the backyard creating prototypes for a snowplow on a tractor (when the only known plows were on horses) and a front loader (before there was such a thing). He was a graduate of the former Searles High School class of 1948. Because of his mechanical genius, he was awarded a full scholarship to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He founded Tryon Construction, an excavation and site work company known throughout the Berkshires for its quality work. Ray was appointed to the Monterey Fire Department in 1953 and served as fire chief for 55 years. He was a fierce advocate for the fire service and worked to build a new Monterey fire station and lay the groundwork to support a robust paid call department in an era in which small-town fire departments were struggling to survive. He mentored many young firefighters and was a member of the Fire Chiefs Association even after his retirement. He was active in Monterey town politics throughout his life.
He served as town constable from 1953-2018 and held various other positions including fire warden, gas inspector and election warden. At various times in his life, he was a member of the conservation commission, capital highway improvement committee, safety committee, veterans’ memorial committee, and historical committee. Ray had a team of Percheron horses who lived in his backyard barn, and he spent time showing them at regional fairs with his family. He also enjoyed playing softball for the infamous team the Monterey Mothers. In his retirement, he kept himself busy refurbishing old Caterpillar bulldozers as a member of the Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club, being an active member of Monterey Coffee Club, ballroom dancing, and keeping up with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Those who loved Ray will remember him for his mental sharpness, his ability to never mince words, his no-nonsense approach to life, and his steadfast commitment to his community and family.
Ray is survived by his wife, June (Champigny) Tryon; son Leigh Tryon (Wendy), daughter Kathie Tryon (Raymond Becker); grandchildren Shawn (Carly) and Christopher (Cara); and great-grandchildren Ian, Phoebe and Owen.
A celebration of life for Raymond Wallace Tryon will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Monterey Fire Station. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made out to the Monterey Fire Company in care of the BIRCHES-ROY FUNERAL HOME, 33 South St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. Condolences may be made through birchesroyfuneralservices.com.