Raymond D. Poling passed away on November 22, 2021 at the age of 86. He was born in Du Quoin, IL to Carl and Ella (Spohn) Poling on June 18, 1935 and one of five siblings.
Raymond said he lived a storied life, and he did just that. He graduated from Du Quoin High School in 1953. He sang in a gospel quartet called the Harmonaires with his sister, Nila, and sang for a half hour on Sunday mornings on the WDQN radio station, something he was very proud of. Working in a pool hall in his hometown, he also racked pool balls for Minnesota Fats when he came home to visit. After high school, he and a friend decided to join the Air Force and arrived at the office only to find it was closed. Minutes later, they opened the door to the U.S. Army. Following in his older brother’s footsteps, Raymond joined the U.S. Army Security agency for three years as a Morse Code Intercept Operator in Okinawa, Japan, blaming Uncle Sam for his hearing loss. Upon release in 1957, he attended SIU Carbondale and received a B.A. in English, minoring in government and a Masters in English from Bradley University.
He accepted a teaching position in Streator, IL at Streator High School in the fall of 1961. Mr. Poling just didn’t have two kids, he had thousands. After 33 years of teaching English, American Literature, Poetry and Drama, among other subjects, he shared his passion for learning with them all. You may remember him adjusting his glasses, building a school float as a class sponsor, or shooting hoops in the gymnasium. He enjoyed the comradery of his coworkers and was prone to engage in humorous antics.
Ray, along with his friend and coworker, Jim Brennan also had several side businesses including renting apartments, insulating houses, and selling kerosene heaters. You may have also seen him working for TomKat Roofing or any of the Citgo gas stations in town. He worked part time for several years until he was almost 80 years old.
While living in Streator, he was a member of the Choralaires, under Dr. Schiffbauer, for 19 years enjoying his favorite past time, singing. He also sang in multiple church choirs in town and to anyone who asked him to. Ray also belonged to the Y’s Men’s Club, serving with that organization for six years. He enjoyed gardening and landscaping his yard. Fishing in the Illinois river trying to land that river monster catfish and taking complete strangers shore fishing on his boat was enjoyable for him. You would find him watching the Chicago Bears and if they weren’t doing that well, he would watch his beloved 1985 Bears season DVDs. There are even some outhouses and benches made by Ray out there. Never idle, he spent his time enjoying his life. Later in his years, you may have seen him wave to you as you drove by. When asked why he did that, he said he was spreading goodwill towards men. So, here’s to you Raymond, our final wave to you and the great life you lived.
He had traditional values emphasized by hard work, loyalty, generosity, and kindness. His values and fun-loving spirit touched many who knew him. Gifted with charm, his family will continue to honor his legacy, living their lives the same way.
Raymond was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Poling (brother), Dwayne and Nicki Poling (brother and sister n law) , Marvin Poling (brother), and Jim Swallers (brother n law).
He is survived by his daughters, Shelly (Tom) Cinnamon, Susan Poling and his grandchildren, Joshua Cinnamon and Nathan Cinnamon, his sister, Nila Swallers, sister n laws, Ruth Poling and Ema Jean Poling, and many loving nieces and nephews.
Cremation rites have been accorded. Interment with full military honors will be held at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Du Quoin, IL and a celebration of life will be arranged for a later date.
To send flowers to Raymond's family, please visit our floral store.