Since 2012, Raymond Charles Faville, operated Chez Lin & Rays, a popular family restaurant in Essex, New York, with his wife, Linda Faville. Previously Ray and Linda owned and operated Lock 12 Marina and the Finch & Chubb Restaurant in Whitehall for 26 years.
Ray’s tragic death on July 17, 2017, left his family and friends mourning and his adopted community struggling with the loss. Some of the tributes that follow were shared during a July 22, 2017 memorial Chez Lin & Rays. We invite everyone who wishes to share their own memories to email editor [@] essexonlakechamplain [dot] com, and we will update this post. Or please feel free to add your tribute in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
A Celebration of Life: Raymond Charles Faville
As August 2011 turned into September, Essex lived through tropical storm Irene that destroyed houses in Whallonsburg, knocked out power for several days and threatened the water system for those living in the hamlet, flooded the streams and the Boquet River closing the bridge at Willsboro on NYS 22, flooded basements, felled trees, and raised the lake level above marina’s docks. Sixty miles south at the head of Lake Champlain Irene also loosed its wet havoc badly damaging Lock 12 Marina in Whitehall at the north end of the Champlain Canal and forcing the closure the popular Finch & Chubb Restaurant. Ray and Linda Faville had seen the fruits of seventeen years of hard work wash away.
The next spring, with the Essex Shipyard under new ownership, a quiet man arrived and introduced himself as Ray Faville, the marina manager. As he met the “boaters,” many of whom with long histories of keeping their yachts at the marina, they began to appreciate a quiet competence. They gradually bonded in lasting friendships. When not around the docks and helping the boaters, Ray would disappear in the Rudder Club restaurant facility, no longer open. Over the course of the summer of 2013 Ray cleaned, revamped and restored the once popular local dining option. The next summer, Linda, who had on occasion visited Ray at the marina, arrived early in the spring and with Ray accomplished the hugely complicated task of opening a restaurant. They knew the business and had worked as a team. The staff they hired became loyal supporters at the Finch & Chubb. By June 2013, Chez Lyn and Ray opened where their staff would also become friends. Tropical storm Irene had unwittingly become a blessing for the community of Essex.
Two years later, they moved the operation to the old Deli on the hill overlooking the waterfront. Ray entirely renovated the building. He rebuilt the kitchen, made an office for Linda, improved the services, reinforced the deck, replaced and added windows, removed cramping walls, installed lighting, constructed a handsome bar, created a rest room, painted, laid carpet, decorated and turned the facility into the new, and improved Chez Lyn and Ray. It opened after Memorial Day on 2013 in part staffed by volunteers and good friends from Essex who helped with hosting, welcoming a growing clientele, waiting and bussing tables as Linda and Ray assembled their own staff.
The Faville’s, frequently assisted by their two children, Tristan and Stefan, have built an institution in Essex. They had gradually embraced the community, and it had embraced them. Their competition had become friends of the Faville’s, frequently dining at each other’s restaurant. They became friends with Essex residents, year around, seasonal, and their guests, and in turn the residents became friends with them. Nearly two hundred people from all strata in Essex and beyond have joined with Linda and Tristan and Stefan this afternoon to remember and to celebrate Ray; his accomplishments; his skills with a saw or a whisk, a wrench or a spatula, or a wiring diagram or recipe. They came to celebrate their memories of man of humor and wit, a gentle laughter, a ready smile, and a volunteer to help when or where needed. They have come together at Chez Lyn and Ray to lament the loss of an important fixture in their community; they come together to react to bewilderment of the sudden, unexpected loss of their friend Ray; they come together to demonstrate their affection for Linda, if possible to console her, and to assure her that she has become one of them; they have come together because they cannot address their grief alone, they reach out for one another and to thank Linda, Tristan and Stefan for the opportunity and courage to celebrate Ray and to embrace them as stunned friends and as a community the Faville’s have joined.
— Nick Muller
Ray Faville: Father
I first want to say thank you, to everyone for coming, my dad’s death has an impact on this entire community and beyond, and I am grateful that we can come together and celebrate his life. I would like to share a few things that my dad taught me before he passed.
As Kitty mentioned, All that knew my dad, and especially those who worked with him, know of his tendency towards mischief and his devious sense of humor (which I eagerly mirrored as a child). These last few days I have read and heard so many comments speaking to how great of a boss Ray was, but I must say, the first things that jump to my mind are the buckets of water dumped from the balcony of the restaurant in Whitehall onto the heads of unsuspecting waitstaff on their way into work, the odd foods and unexpectedly hot peppers he would somehow persuade some poor kitchen help to consume, and his ability to convince new waitstaff that turning off the music and starting to vacuum was an appropriate way of letting lingering customers know that it was closing time.
The most meaningful things my dad taught me came simply through example. He of course taught me how to ride a bike, how to cook, how to sharpen a knife, how to defend myself. But he also showed me, every single day, how to live and work with purpose, and how to love selflessly and unconditionally.
My dad was the most hardworking and self-taught person ive ever known. Ray bought a marina, restaurant, and inn when he was just 1 year older than I am now, when he knew absolutely nothing about boats or how to cook for large amounts of people. And then, after “retiring” from the industry after 26 years, my dad found himself in Essex, eventually building an entirely new restaurant mostly by himself: tearing down walls, building bathrooms, and decorating.
In addition to all of this, my dad raised 2 kids, perhaps the hardest thing of all.
What made my dad so truly noble, generous, and selfless, is that he never complained, his actions required no recognition, no reward, and he never asked for anything in return. He did things for me knowing that I would never truly appreciate them or understand the extent to which he placed my happiness over his own, time and time again.
My dad loved the work he did and I grew up believing that all families had tea together in the mornings, children had their parents around all day long, every day, and that late night toll house pie was just downstairs, if I managed to sneak past Ray.
During the school year my father would drive my brother and I 30 minutes each morning to school in Vermont, because he was not completely satisfied with the school system in Whitehall. After returning to pick us up he would then bend over backwards to bring me to gymnastics or my brother to hockey, both of which were 40 minutes from Whitehall, in the opposite direction of school.
During the summer seasons I grew up watching my dad run a marine store during the day, gas boats up, raise and lower masts, do pump outs, and then, after a full day of tedious work, trade in his marina radio for his chef’s apron and start the dinner shift alongside my mother.
My dad taught me to think for myself and do things differently, to question the norm because what is common does not mean it is right, my dad taught me that your attitude builds your reality, that laughter and positive energy are contagious, that failure does not mean defeat, to stand up straight and fight my own battles, my dad taught me that the only wrong way to do something frightening is to not try it at all , he taught me how to be strong, he taught me how to be proud, and he taught me how to let go.
— Tristan Faville
Ray Faville: Mischievous and Trusting
Twenty-four years ago, I was blessed to walk into the lives of this incredible family. I was applying for a job at their restaurant and from day one I knew I had found my spot. For 17 years, I worked alongside these amazing people. They taught, encouraged, supported, and loved me, my children, and grandchildren. Ray’s affectionate name for Linda was Cutie, and early on, because of his accent I was never sure if he was saying Kitty or Cutie. After a few times of asking if he was talking to me I just decided to answer him anyway.
Ray’s mischievous side always kept things fun. I have an explainable fear of live lobsters and Ray never missed the opportunity to scare me to the point of calling him a cuss word. He would let the lobsters roam the floor of the walk-in and then ask me to get him something from there just to scare the life out of me.
We had a couple of employees in the kitchen whom he could never get their names straight. I got one of the staff a t-shirt that said “My name is Brook” across the back because he always called her some other name. The other one was named Troy, but he kept forgetting so at the beginning of the shift I would write his name down at his station so Ray wouldn’t have to whisper across to me, “What’s his name again?”
He was always pulling little pranks on the staff… calling from his cell phone late into a crazy, busy dinner-shift and making a fake reservation for a large group, requesting drinks and dinner 15 minutes before closing…all just to see what type of reaction he could get.
As fun as he was, he also stood his ground with a vengeance when he was wronged. he was a man of character and defended his wife, children, and business to the utmost. He was incredibly generous, humble, and kind. He went above and beyond for his patrons, both in the restaurant and at the marina. He always sent his staff home a the end of a shift with a thank you. We all worked hard to ensure each meal that left the kitchen was up to Ray’s standards and that his guests were treated well…. but we also had a lot of fun and formed a wonderful work family. His trust in me and the confidence he instilled will always be one of my greatest gifts.
— Kitty Arquette
Ray Faville: Hero
I landed in New York City August 18, 1982. About six months later I met Ray Faville through my good friend Stefan Hildt.
Being that I was American, Ray and Stefan would never let me in on that special “English Handshake”, but I was still fortunate to call both of them my friends.
This is when I also met Linda and was present during the courtship, the falling in love and the marriage of Ray and Linda. What a love story! Shakespeare had nothing on this. Two people from other worlds meeting in New York City in a small Middle Eastern advertising agency – it was impossible, and meant to be. Ray was handsome, smart, hard working and kind; and Linda’s beauty was not half her charm – she had a boundless joy that infected everyone she met.
It was during these times – early 80’s in Manhattan – when everything was possible – the impossible was possible. We were young, and kings.
Of course, the obvious choice was to try to bring Madison Avenue to Saudi Arabia J. In this impossible endeavor Ray and Stefan recruited me to go to Saudi Arabia where Stefan had already opened an office, while Ray ran the business out of New York.
Ray at the time was almost mythical to me. He understood the Middle East. The economics; the sizes of markets; the personalities. He was wise beyond his years. He wasn’t Lawrence of Arabia. He wasn’t James Bond. But for a small town kid from Oregon, he was somewhere in that genre.
Ray was not only smart and hard working; he was kind and considerate. He made me feel part of the team. He seemed to like my crazy humor. He was open to everyone. Stefan, the Brit, Dave the American, the Arab writers and the Kurdish Calligrapher all liked Ray. And the clients respected his thoughtful advice. It reminds me of the line from the Kipling’s ‘If’: “Walk with kings nor lose your common touch”. Ray had both.
Then after the agency days had passed Ray says, “We are going up north to open a Marina”. Of course!? Who but Ray could make a pivot from Manhattan, Middle East adman, to an owner of a Marina next to Lake George!
Found the place. Built his own docks. Raised a family. Made a life. Ray could, and did, do anything he put his mind to.
I spoke to Ray once or twice a year for 35 years. We always took up where we left off. Always a great conversation. Such a good man.
Thank God that last year Linda and Ray spent a night with Diane and I in Manhattan. It was like old times. Ray of course looked as young as ever – as did Diane and Linda – and I was as funny as I ever have been – or at least Ray made me think so.
I love Ray Faville. He was one of my heroes. Backbone. Initiative. Understated kindness. Family man. Businessman. He had a great and lasting impact on my life.
He is gone too soon. But we know that he is with us.
My regrets and condolences to you, Linda, and to Stefan and Tristan.
— David Olsen
Ray Faville: Infectious Laughter
For those of you who may not know me, my name is Steen Jorgensen. I have been a member of the Essex Shipyard family for the past 12 years, & fortunate to be able call the Faville family my friends over the past 5 years.
We lost a wonderful man this past week. In the relatively short time since Ray & Linda arrived in Essex in 2012, they have made what I would consider a tremendous impact on this community. I think that they have really brought people together. Chez Lin & Ray’s has become an attraction for surrounding areas, a meeting place for locals, & for many a place that feels like home here in Essex.
Ray was a huge part of that, & we are all missing him today, & feeling that loss. We all share in this loss, & we all grieve together. But together, we also remember Ray’s character, his patience, his talent as a Chef – amongst many other talents – & most certainly, his sense of humour & easy laugh, which was, to say the least, infectious.
I had the good fortune to get to know Ray & Linda over the past several years, first while Ray managed the Shipyard & eventually at Chez Lin & Rays. When Ray first arrived at the Shipyard, he began work putting the place back together after it had been hit by rough spring weather & high water. Ray quickly assessed what needed to be done, did it, & did it well, wasting little time getting the Shipyard back into ship-shape.
In 2013 when, after much coaxing, Lin & Ray decided to reopen the restaurant in the Shipyard, those of us who had seen many incarnations in that space over the years didn’t really know what to expect. However, once they opened, we realized that fortune had smiled upon us in the form of Lin & Ray, & that a new & wonderful era had begun at the Shipyard. The only downside to the food being so delicious was that the Shipyard boaters sometimes had to park on the street due to the restaurant’s popularity & a full parking lot – a small price to pay for a steady supply of Pasta Milanese, in my opinion. But more important was the life that Chez Lin & Rays breathed into the Shipyard itself – & in fact, not just the Shipyard, but also, I think, into the surrounding community.
Both Lin & Ray have a knack for making all who enter Chez Lin & Rays feel like they are not only valued customers, but also part of the family. I believe this also extends to their employees. Certainly, Linda’s kindness & humour always shine through, & her impact on Lin & Rays, as well as on this community, is considerable.
When Lin & Ray moved the restaurant to its current location in 2015, it was impressive to see what they had managed to create over a few short months during the winter. Anyone who saw the building before they took it over would not have recognized it now. Ray once again did most of the renovation work himself. They created a beautiful, warm & welcoming atmosphere, & their following quickly grew larger still. They had become so well-loved, that a number of people from the community offered their time & effort free of charge to help launch the new place – something that I feel reflects the impact Lin & Ray have had on many of the people in this area, not just as restauranteurs, but as friends & members of the Essex community. Again, they clearly bring people together.
Some of you may have been familiar with their previous restaurant, The Finch & Chubb, down at the south end of the lake in Whitehall. What you may not be aware of are the many fascinating twists & turns of Ray’s life prior to that period. Born in Bangalore, India, he lived most of his teenage years in his father’s home country of England, although you wouldn’t know it from his accent. After college, Ray began working at a British advertising agency which sent him to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. At some point, his manager at the time convinced Ray to come with him to New York City & Madison Avenue to run a small ad agency there named Memco. This is where Ray, at the age of 25, met his future bride, love, & partner, Linda. After several years in New York City, they decided to try a different lifestyle, & came to Whitehall, opening & operating a marina, & a restaurant, The Finch & Chubb, which gained a following that continued all the way to Essex. In Whitehall & in Rutland, Lin & Ray also raised two wonderful & talented children, Tristan & Stefan.
Since his arrival at the Essex Shipyard, I have always been impressed by Ray’s ability to “just do it”. One instance in particular springs to mind, when he brought two of his very large concrete docks up to the Shipyard to replace some older unstable floating docks. I don’t recall how he got them up here from Whitehall, but I’ll never forget how he got them down to Ticonderoga, where a buyer awaited, the year they moved Lin & Rays up the hill. These docks probably weighed well over 20 tons. Ray set out on a calm & warm sunny day with both docks attached to a small fishing boat that he had brought up for the move. It took two days, & included tying the whole thing to a bridge trestle one night where Ray slept in a tent on one of the concrete docks!
Everything went well until at one point near the southern part of the lake, he looked over at the shore & realized that for the past hour, while going full speed, he had not moved at all in relation to the land. Realizing that the current was just too strong, he proceeded to put his inflatable dinghy in the water & start that outboard motor up as well, & in my imagination I can just see him straddling the two boats like John Wayne herding those two huge docks down the lake to their eventual destination! To hear Ray tell the story, it was probably much more difficult than he let on, but he pulled it off with the cost being little more than a very red sunburn. As always, Ray told the story in his own self-deprecating manner, complete with infectious laughter.
As an employer, the feedback about Ray from his employees at the restaurants was glowing. Some of his employees even followed him from Whitehall to Essex, describing Ray as always teaching them the ropes, always kind & helpful, & exhibiting patience beyond the norm. “Best boss I ever had”, said one. Both of Lin & Ray’s children, Tristan & Stefan, have worked with him over the years, something that I know made him extremely happy & very proud. It is my understanding that the family intends to continue operating the restaurant, which is good news for all of us here today, & I have no doubt that they will experience continued success going forward. It is my hope that this will also help provide some healing to the family & the community that loved Ray. It will no doubt continue to bring us all together.
For my own part, I have to say that over the past 5 years, I gained tremendous respect for Ray as a person. But more importantly, I, like many of you, grew to love him as a friend. We will all miss his humour, kindness & friendship every single day. As difficult a time as this is for us all, we can be grateful to have known Ray, grateful to know his family, & grateful going forward that when we think of Ray, he will no doubt continue to put a smile on your faces, as he has done so many times in the past for me, & for all of us.
Thank you all for coming to celebrate our good friend Ray.
— Steen Jorgensen
Ray Faville: Inspiration and Friend
For many years I have thought of that small slice of upstate New York occupied by Ray, his family and their businesses as a substantial and important part of my own life too. When I heard of the loss of Ray this week I felt somehow cheated. This is not the way things should have been: I am some years older than Ray and had hoped that he would be there for me as a friend for the rest of my life. Of course, we have no say in such matters and I am now in the position of reflecting on the thirty-seven years of a friendship that is very precious to me.
I first met Ray when he joined our (now defunct) Jeddah advertising agency as an account executive after a stint at the London offices of Foote, Cone & Belding (also known affectionately as Foot, Sore & Bleeding). Ray’s key strengths – high intelligence, a wonderful sense of fun and good humour, an extraordinary work ethic, warmth to all and great loyalty and love to his family and friends – were obvious to me in those early days and none of this was ever to desert him for even one moment. Although very young, Ray was a driving force at the agency and instrumental in bringing in some substantial new business including the Malaysian Airline System (now Malaysian Airlines) account. He travelled to Kuala Lumpur in pursuit of the business and they were clearly impressed by him.
I still remember Ray orchestrating a fake research department at the agency to help impress a business prospect. He had our staff as actors and created a highly believable scene replete with computer printouts, graphs, furniture and the appropriate industry-speak. Although the chaos was cleverly disguised and the dark humour suppressed, all of this was worthy of Tarantino.
Ray was very shrewd and resourceful. I was once working on a confidential matter that was of concern to him. He secretly searched my rubbish bin for the lightly shredded drafts and reconstructed the correspondence. On his leaving day, he presented the papers to me with a note of thanks. I had been supportive of him. Obviously.
I first saw the generosity that was so characteristic of Ray during those early days in Jeddah. He had just bought an antique piece that attracted him when another friend of mine came to visit. As soon as she admired those fire bellows (superfluous in that environment I agree) they were hers by gift. This is just one example, I could go on and on.
After Ray left the agency we realised that he would be perfect for a more senior role. Sadly, we were unable to secure him because he had other fish to fry. Ray moved to New York to continue working in advertising and I was to meet up with him there frequently. As for those visits, I shall use one word but repeat it twice: fun, fun, fun! I am also grateful for his introductions to people who would also become close friends of mine namely, Stefan Hildt, David Olsen and their families – and, of course, Linda. I also got to know both Ray’s parents and his sister Heather.
The advertising that Ray was working on in New York was also focused on the Middle East and, in time, a company was to be set up in competition with our own. This competition was fierce but principled – although this was irrelevant in a sense because these people were operating at a far higher level of professionalism than we were capable of at the time. And I believe Ray was the star performer of that very talented group that would go on to be so tremendously successful in their own alternative career paths.
It was a joy to meet Linda in New York and to be present at her marriage to Ray at Bayville. I spoke in the church that day, in a reading from Corinthians, saying that without love we are nothing but a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. There was so much love between these two people and how beautifully it has extended to friends, family and just about everyone else they have come across. I inflicted myself many, many times on the Favilles at Lock 12 Marina and their hospitality never showed the slightest sign of strain.
Notoriously, I turned up one summer to announce that I would be staying for three months to help during Linda’s pregnancy. Idiotically, I had chosen the second trimester when she needed no help from me whatsoever. That trip was memorable in several ways and included a wild voyage across the lake with dog Spock at the helm howling madly but heroically into the wind. Linda and I thought that portly Spock should be put on a salad diet but Ray demurred. I waited at tables when things were busy and Ray and Linda were desperate but impressed visitors only with my accent. I got to see how well the real restaurant team worked together and the friendships that blossomed. The tributes we have heard from present and past employees bear out this very special relationship.
I saw Ray hard at work on the docks, serving boaters and running a restaurant at the height of the season. Linda called him her hero and that’s exactly what he was to many of us. He would be working like crazy when I was at Lock 12 but could still find time to keep me amused.
Years later I would bring my wife Karin and our first two children (as infants) to see Lock 12 Marina. And it was in Whitehall that we discovered that Karin was pregnant with our third child Ellen. When my eldest son was 12 years old, I was on a business trip to the United States and picked him up at JFK. The look in John’s eyes when he saw the New York skyline was a joy to behold but what was special for him that trip was the time he spent with Ray, Linda, Stefan and Tristan. It is obvious to me that the grand tradition of Lock 12 has transferred happily to Essex.
Sadly, we haven’t seen much of each other these past years because there hasn’t been a lot of travelling going on but we have all kept in touch. It has been a pleasure to get to know (via FB) of Tristan’s nutrition work. I am an admirer of her approach but too often fall by the wayside. It is thirteen years since I was last in touch with Stefan but it was he I spoke to when I first heard the tragic news. Stefan was a comfort to me at the time of his own grieving.
Ray has been an inspiration to me since 1980 but he set a standard I couldn’t possibly live up to. Certainly, he has always been one of my greatest friends and has never once disappointed me. I have thought of Ray fondly each year since meeting him and he will never be forgotten by me and my family.
One consolation for us during the past few days of sadness has been the news that Ray’s pride and joy, the restaurant, will continue to operate. May Chez Lin and Rays thrive in memory of this wonderful man. The decision to hold a memorial gathering so soon after the loss of Ray was very wise and I hope this will be a comfort to all present. May my dear friend Ray Faville now rest in peace.
— John Dick