Lifelong RFDS supporter passes away aged 90
FORMER Banana Shire cattle farmer and generous supporter of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) Ray Grace has died peacefully aged 90.
A Biloela local, Mr Grace had been in the back of a Flying Doctor aircraft three times, making the trip from Rockhampton to Brisbane for lifesaving heart treatment.
He was just one year younger than the Flying Doctor when he died.
He was a long-time friend of the RFDS and a major philanthropist. In 2017, to mark the Flying Doctor's appreciation, a Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft was named the "Ray Grace", and the aircraft has served the people of the Rockhampton and Central Queensland region with as much dedication as the man himself, carrying more than 2000 patients for lifesaving treatment. Mr Grace was also transported by the Service on his last journey home from the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton to Biloela Hospital in February.
Chief Executive Officer of the RFDS's Queensland Section, Meredith Staib, said the service was honoured to be able to take Mr Grace home one last time.
"It was Ray's last wish to return to Biloela in his final weeks, and it was our privilege to make that a reality for him," Ms Staib said.
"Our heartfelt condolences go to Ray's family and friends at this sad and difficult time," she said.
Mr Grace spent his retirement in Biloela Queensland and was well known for his philanthropy and support of his local community.
He spent his working life on his property in Banana Shire, were he raise red Brangus cattle, a breed for which he had a great respect and affection.
Mr Grace was a humble and thoughtful man with a great intellect.
He took great pleasure in supporting the RFDS, and enjoyed talking about his aircraft, and more importantly the Queenslanders whose lives he had helped to save.
"Ray wasn't a man who expressed his feelings readily, but when we used to report to him how many Queenslanders his plane had transported, he would become quite emotional," Ms Staib said.
Last year the "Ray Grace" aircraft helped 890 Queenslanders, and 31 of those were babies under a day old.
Key Relationships Manager of RFDS's Queensland Section, Heather Stott, said Mr Grace was a man whose generosity helped improve the lives of many.
"It was a privilege to have known Ray, a man we admired greatly," Ms Stott said.
"He believed there should be more kindness in the world, and he led the way by saving-lives and improving the health of his fellow Queenslanders.
He believed there should be more kindness in the world, and he led the way by saving-lives and improving the health of his fellow Queenslanders." Ms Stott said.