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The best is yet to come

Eagle’s Trace couple looks forward to happiness on the road ahead

Created date

January 24th, 2012

This publication doesn t typically play matchmaker. But in the case of Ray Ledlie and Marion Stowe, the Erickson Tribune was pleased to play a small role in their introduction. Ray, a retired intellectual property attorney for Dow Chemical, moved to Eagle s Trace, an Erickson Living community in West Houston, from Columbia Lakes in January 2010. A self-described people person, Ray invested a significant amount of time getting to know his new neighbors. I spent the first six months at Eagle s Trace trying to eat dinner with a new person every night, he says. But I didn t meet Marion until one of her bridge partners told me there was another resident from Midland, Mich. Intrigued, Ray found Marion s number in the resident directory and gave her a call. I was in my apartment reading the Tribune, says Marion, who moved to Eagle s Trace in September 2009. I was in the middle of a story about how Erickson Realty and Moving Services helped a new resident, Ray Ledlie, move into his apartment when the phone rang. The voice on the other end said, Hi, this is Ray Ledlie. I couldn t believe it. I told him I was just reading about him. Marion accepted Ray s invitation to join him for dinner that evening in the Garden Room Restaurant. The pair hit it off instantly. Midland, Mich., is a small town, says Ray. The fact that we hadn t met before was amazing. The pair did have several friends in common. My best friend s husband was hunting buddies with Ray, says Marion. And still we never met. Adding to the web of mutual connections, Ray and Marion both worked for the same company. I worked for Dow Chemical for 37 years in Midland, says Marion. Ray worked for the company for 40 years, but he moved several times. Marion, who lived in Michigan for 52 years, was reluctant to move to Texas when her daughter first broached the subject. My daughter lives in Houston, and my son lives in Austin, says Marion. They wanted me to be closer to them. Eventually, Marion did move and says Ray s dinner invitation was a turning point for her as she adjusted to her new surroundings. He s always happy, always laughing, says Marion. And he knows everything and everybody. For his part, Ray was equally smitten. Marion is a remarkable person, says Ray. She was the women s state bare bow archery champion in Michigan, she s a black diamond skier, and she s gone bungee jumping in New Zealand. I ve never known such an active woman.

Texas tour guide

Ray made it his mission to make Marion feel at home in Texas. Knowing her fondness for plants, he bought her a bougainvillea, a Southern favorite with bright pink blooms that don t wither in the Texas heat. He planned road trips to acquaint her with the landscape. Together the pair explored gems of the Texas Hill Country, including Fredricksburg, and ventured out on bird-watching excursions in South Texas. She s made a bird-watcher out of me, says Ray. Marion embraced the new experiences, even taking the surprises in stride. We stopped at a restaurant and Ray ordered a chicken fried steak, she says. I d never seen a piece of meat that big before. I couldn t believe he ate the whole thing. Last summer, the trio set off on a road trip to Michigan. They visited old friends and familiar landmarks. While Ray and Marion maintain their separate apartment homes at Eagle s Trace, they take turns making lunch for each other every day. We live alone together. That s the best way I can describe it, says Ray.

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