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Raymond J Arra

January 17, 1941 ~ May 17, 2018 (age 77)

Westfield-Raymond J. Arra, 77, died Thursday, May 17, 2018 at home surrounded by his wife, 2 children, son in laws and his neighbor by his side. He was born on January 17, 1941 in Boston to the late Raymond and Norina (Sachetti) Arra. Ray loved fishing the Cape Cod Canal, hunting, walking in the woods, gardening, mushroom picking, growing tomatoes, planting plum trees and cooking Italian food. If the name Ray Arra sounds familiar, it should, especially for baseball players and fans all over New England. You’d be hard pressed to find a baseball man who has touched more lives and influenced more players that Ray Arra did. Over a career that spanned more than half a century, Ray won more than 400 high school games and close to 200 collegiate games. He led his teams in a quiet, passionate, and unassuming way, leading by example. A career that began as a three sport star at Needham High School led to being signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1960. After a stint in the minor leagues Ray went to Westfield State where he was captain of the baseball team, and in 2002 he returned to the school as a baseball coach. Aside from all the games he won, Ray was most proud of leading his team on a goodwill mission to Cuba in March of 2013, where a group of American college kids played professional baseball players from Cuba in a series of exhibition games. "The trip to Cuba was phenomenal," Ray said. "We stayed in a five-star hotel. The stadium we played in was in Old Havana, and it held 55,000 fans, just like Yankee Stadium. People made a big fuss over the kids. Our guys signed autographs. It was something really special. "Something special. That's how you'd describe Ray Arra. His career, his love for the game was indeed something special. A member of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Ray Arra leaves a lasting legacy on the baseball diamonds all over New England. Ray also taught and coached at Westfield Vocational High School and in East Longmeadow and coached in Westfield, Southwick and Minnechaug. Ray leaves his wife of 49 years Judith (Boron) Arra, his children Christine Arra and her husband Don Bilodeau of Bronxville, NY, Kimberly Arra and her husband Adam Lesko and Rays beloved grandson Hudson (2) all of Florence, MA. He also leaves his brother Ronald Arra and his wife Janet of Sandwich, his nephew Ronals Arra Jr. of Boston and his niece Jennifer Pumpilli of Sandwich and several cousins. The funeral for Ray will be held on Sunday May 20th at 4 pm at the Firtion-Adams Funeral Service, 76 Broad Street, Westfield. Calling hours will precede the service on Sunday at the funeral home from 1-4 pm. Donations in memory of Ray may be made to the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, 28 West Silver Street, Westfield, MA 01085 or to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701. Firtionadams.com

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