It is how we live our lives and love those around us that matter most in life, and Raymond Ocasio lived life exceptionally well. He gave to others, enjoyed life to the fullest, and accomplished much in his all too brief time. An example of courage, strength and determination, Raymond may have been sidelined for a time, but he proved illness could never take away his sweet spirit and love. Although gone from love’s embrace, the heart of Raymond lives on in the many memories he leaves behind.
Raymond’s story began during the cold months of winter in the bustling city of Chicago, Illinois. There was great change taking place around the globe at a time when the U.S. joined the fight to free Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War. While the Simpson’s continued to reign in TV ratings, the Super Ninetendo Game System was all the rage. Yet on January 2, 1991, the family of Raymond Michael Ocasio was overjoyed to begin the New Year celebrating his blessed birth.
Before long, Raymond and his mother, Lezette Alejandro, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to begin their lives anew. As the man of the house, Raymond grew up fast. In time he welcomed two sisters, Samantha and Stephanie, whom he helped raise. A young boy with much responsibility, Raymond and his mother were a team, and family always came first. He was able to talk with his mother about anything, and the closeness and open communication they shared was a blessing. He was an obedient son, and set a good example for his younger sisters to live by.
Raymond excelled in his studies and was very active in sports while growing up. He attended the local schools, and participated in basketball, baseball and football. He was a good student while attending Cooper Middle School before going on to Thomas More High School. He continued in sports, and lettered in football, basketball and baseball, even gaining all-conference honors in football. Raymond was fearless when it came to the football field. Once while trying to get to the end zone, he ran about ten yards with six opposing team players trying to tackle him down. It worried their coach because time after time, Raymond kept getting the ball. Before Ray’s quarterback even threw the ball to him, the opposing coach yelled out, “GET THE BEAST! GET THE BEAST!”, which made everyone laugh because he was referring to Ray!
With a personality all his own, Raymond was popular and a friend to many. He was very outgoing, friendly, and quite the ladies man. He was taught to be very respectful of others which served him well through his educational years. As part of the Teens Against Drugs, S.A.D.D. – Students Against Destructive Decisions as well as the Latino Organization at school, Ray was a positive influence on others. He enjoyed hanging out with his friends and the many sports and other activities he was involved in.
Raymond had many other interests, as well. He loved playing chess, Monopoly and his favorite card game, UNO. He enjoyed fishing with his Uncle Nathanial, and did so whenever he was able. When it came to music, Raymond liked listening to instrumental music and writing lyrics. He loved Rap and R&B music, and his favorite musicians included Kid Cuddi and Lupe Fiasco. Ray was the #1 fan of the Chicago Bears, and his favorite basketball team was the Celtics. He liked reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and watching Family Feud, Chopped and criminal shows on TV. His all-time favorite movies were Sea Biscuit and White Men Can’t Jump.
It was in Ray’s nature to be a caretaker, and was always looking out for his mom and sisters. Ray was respectful and considerate of others, too. As a teammate, he was interested in the concerns of the other players and looked out for their best interest. Whether in school, at home, on the court, or field, Ray was a hard worker. His summers were filled with baseball and training for the upcoming football season. He also worked for a painting company one summer, and later worked third shift for General Mills in their packaging plant.
After graduating from high school, Raymond went on to further his education at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside (UW – Parkside) in Kenosha , Wisconsin where he pursued a degree in Criminal Justice. In his second year he joined the Omega Delta Phi fraternity because he appreciated their focus on community service helping with home maintenance projects for those in need.
With so much ahead of him and a future as bright as he could have imagined, Raymond and his family discovered on July 17, 2012 that he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. All through his illness, Raymond could only think of his family. Selfless and never complaining, he often apologized to them for everything they had to go through due to his illness. Even as sick as he was, his concern for his mom never waned, and he’d often wait up for her to get home from work to see how her day went.
Raymond Ocasio knew what was important in life. In his few short years compared to many, he made an obvious impact in the lives of others only few accomplish through an entire lifetime. Always the warrior, Raymond never gave up. He had a way of making everyone around him feel special, and brought out the best in people. He always tried to find an easier way, and smiled through the tough times that came his way. A sensitive and caring young man, he possessed a kind soul with a huge heart, and his love and friendship was a blessing in the lives of many. Dearly loved and deeply missed, he will be remembered for all that he was, and all that he gave to those who knew and loved him.
Raymond Michael Ocasio, age 23, was Born to Eternal Life on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was the cherished son of Lezette Alejandro and a loving brother to his sisters, Samantha and Stephanie Albert. Ray’s family also includes his grandmother, Lezette Alejandro; aunts, Olga Torres and Yvette Alejandro; his uncle, Nathaniel Cruz; and cousins, Kevin Cruz, Nashaly Mora, and Kelvin Hernandez and is further survived by other relatives and friends.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate Raymond’s life on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes-Niemann/Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. (414) 744-5156 from 1:00 pm until the time of his Memorial Service at 3:00 pm. To share a favorite memory or photo of Raymond and to sign his online guestbook, please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com.