WWII veteran Clifton D. Raynor dies

Clifton D. Raynor in an undated photo.

Clifton D. Raynor in an undated photo.

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He was one of World War II's many unsung heroes, having survived the bloody D-Day invasion at Normandy.

But Clifton D. Raynor often said he considered his visits to his ailing wife, Irene, to be his most treasured responsibility.

"My wife has been in a nursing home for 5 1/2 years," Raynor said in 2008. "I see her every day."

Raynor, 89, of East Patchogue, died Thursday at Bellhaven Center, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Brookhaven. He had struggled with complications from gall bladder surgery, according to his family.

Born in Westhampton Beach, he was the eldest of seven brothers and five sisters. He left high school to work on vegetable farms in Speonk before being drafted in 1941.

As a member of the 8th Infantry Division, he landed at Normandy two days after the 1944 D-Day invasion began, and fought in the harrowing advance though the hedgerows of the French coastline.

He was awarded a Bronze Star medal.

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"We fought right up from the beach through the pillboxes and into the hedgerows," Raynor told Newsday in 2008.

When one of Raynor's sisters fixed him up with a blind date after his discharge from the Army, Irene walked into his life. They were married 65 years and raised two daughters, Brenda Newins, of Patchogue, and Sandra Pulcrano, of Mount Sinai.

He worked for 40 years for Evans Amityville Dairy, and later as a tool and die maker for EB Stimpson Co. Inc., a machine shop in Bayport. He retired at age 79.

Newins said that when her mother went into a nursing home more than seven years ago, Raynor would spend each afternoon with her, as she slipped deeper into Alzheimer's disease.

"I thought it was absolutely remarkable," she said.


Survivors include his wife and daughters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was a member of the Jayne Lattin VFW Post 2913, in Patchogue.

Viewings are scheduled at Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue for Sunday, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., with a service at 8 p.m. A Monday burial procession will leave the funeral home for Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, at 10:30 a.m.

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