Summit senior apartments feature resident and local 'golf pro' Ray Palcisko
Ask any Summit associate who comes to mind when they think of any local golf pros and Father Ray is first to be named.
“He must have the perfect long put because we often find him sinking them from one end of his apartment to the other! He has like a gazillion golf balls in there!” notes Valerie O’Connell, TMA/Caregiver and friend. “I was so thankful he got my father Kevin Boyle hitting the greens again weekly when he lived here. It was wonderful!”
Father Ray’s story begins in the small town of Chesterfield, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles east of Pittsburg.
“It was coal mining country," said Father Ray, who was the youngest of eight siblings - four boys and four girls. "My father was a miner, but sadly passed when I was only about 4 years old in a hunting accident. One of my older brothers stepped in and was my father figure.”
Ray described how most he knew worked underground in the coal mines and recalls his brothers being covered in black coal dust after a shift in the mine. Many in the area suffered from Black Miner’s Lung so he was thankful his brothers were able to move on to Cleveland to do factory work and leave the pits behind.
Growing up on the farm, a mixed breed dog named Bo was a constant companion. Ray went through the 6th grade as most did in his era. The family raised their own food and were very devout Catholics. When asked what called him to serve Ray described a very particular moment in his life when he was walking to the nearby farm to see a friend.
“I crossed the creek and was going through a field and a single tree caught my attention. I paused and took it in. I did not see nor hear anything but something told me I should go into the seminary just like that. When I arrived home, I shared my experience with my mother, she didn’t say anything. I learned after I was ordained that when I came to her and told her that I was called, she asked my brother Tom; “how can I send him, I have no money.” She prayed to Mother Mary then and there for the way and Mary told her to “send him, it will be alright” and it was, my older brother paid my tuition and books to attend the seminary in Columbus Ohio in 1946."
“I was ordained in 1958 and sent to serve the Northwest Minnesota Crookston Diocese as a Parish Priest which brought me interesting travels and the chance to meet many wonderful people. When I retired I served as a substitute wherever there was a need, those journeys even brought me into Canada. Probably one of the most difficult but poignant and beautiful times in his priesthood was delivering the Funeral Mass for my dear Mother, as well as most of my siblings. I wasn’t able to preside if I was bound to my priestly duties in my parish or the weather did not allow it."
"And the most fulfilling of all? Truly talking to my parishioners about God in my sermons. Not haranguing them, but being with them, fully and faithfully.”
Father Ray said when he first came to The Summit Assisted Living it was very tough.
“I was reluctant, I thought I was doing fine on my own and didn’t think I fit in here but when I got used to it I LOVED it! I really do. I am so thankful for the good people around me here and the beautiful home I have.”
When prodded about his golf game, Father noted that his friends in Florian, MN encouraged him to take up golf many years ago; to help relax and renew after so many would seek out support and advice.
“It really helps pull your attention back to living when you golf,” he added with his usual quick smile.
And how is your golf game father?
“Oh pretty good, they call me “Down the Middle Ray”.
All in a day, Father. All in a day.