Former Banana Shire cattle Farmer Ray Grace and generous supporter of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has died peacefully aged 90.
A Biloela local, Ray had been in the back of a Flying Doctor aircraft three times, making the trip from Rockhampton to Brisbane for life-saving heart treatment. Ray was just one year younger than the Flying Doctor when he passed away.
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 2,000 patients for life-saving 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.
Meredith Staib, CEO RFDS (Queensland Section) said the Service were honoured to be able to take Ray 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,” Ms Staib 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 he had a great respect and affection for. Ray was a humble and thoughtful man with a great intellect.
Ray took great pleasure in supporting the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and thoroughly enjoyed discussions 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, 31 of those were babies under a day old.
Heather Stott, Key Relationships Manager, RFDS (Queensland Section) 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. 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.