Raymond Ablondi passed on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at his home in Hilton Head, SC. Ray was born on August 7,1930, in Framingham, Massachusetts to Raymond Ablondi and Helen Carroll. He went on to be an auto executive at the Ford Motor Company for 35 years retiring as Ford’s Director of Marketing Research for North America where he played a key role in Ford’s re-emergence by focusing on improved quality, customer satisfaction, and customers input into new car styling with new cars such as the Taurus, and newly designed Thunderbird. Earlier in his career he was Lee Iacocca’s Administrative Assistant during the pivotal introduction of a new car called the Ford Mustang. He was also the Lincoln Mercury Divisions Merchandising Manager, and Advertising Manager for Ford North America. He retired in 1990, moved to Hilton Head Island with his loving wife Shirley to continue to enjoy tennis, golf, skiing, traveling together, and most importantly, family and friends in South Carolina and at their ski house in Stratton Mountain, VT.
He is remembered in Fitchburg as one of its finest athletes, a distinguished scholar, and inductee to the Fitchburg High School Hall of Fame. People still remember his blazing speed in football and track where his record time at Crocker Field in the 220 yard dash remains unbroken and his 50 yard touchdown run in the closing seconds of the 1945 Thanksgiving Day game on a rain slogged field allowed Fitchburg to tie the game against their arch-rival Leominster H.S. His senior year track relay team won the gold medal at the New England Championships in the 880 yard relay. His classmates elected him as their junior and senior year class president. He won the Scholar-Athlete Award, and was chosen as one of two students in Massachusetts to attend Boys State in Washington DC and met President Truman.
He went on to Middlebury College in Vermont on an academic scholarship where he lettered in football and track and co-captained the track team his senior year. As a campus leader, he was the winner of the Hazeltine-Klevenow Cup for combining ability in athletics and excellence in scholarship. Upon graduation in 1952, he was the recipient of the Dutton Fellowship for Study Abroad and went on to receive his PhD. from the London School of Economics/University of London. That same year, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Aaltonen, and they moved to London, England. He was later asked to be a Trustee of the college.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, their three children: Christine Ablondi Carlson, of Kauai, Hawaii; Lynn Ablondi,of Kauai, Hawaii; and Chip Ablondi of Pooler, Georgia. They have four grandchildren; Preeta Carlson, Ariel Carlson, Alexa Ablondi and Luci Ablondi.
Love and thanks to all the caring people of The Cypress Home Health, Preston Health Center, and Compassus Hospice for their loving care and support during Ray’s last months.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, April 19, at 10:30 am at St. Francis by the Sea Catholic Church, 45 Beach City Rd, Hilton Head. A Celebration of Life will follow at 12PM at The Cypress of Hilton Head. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Raymond Ablondi's name to Compassus Hospice, 10911 N. Jacob Smart Blvd., Suite B, Ridgeland, SC 29936. The Island Funeral Home and Crematory. islandfuneralhome.com
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