Team SunSmart Program -
Ray Festa was a tireless community advocate. He cared about the development of young people and supported many meaningful outreach programs. At the young age of 53, Ray was taken from friends and loved ones as a result of melanoma. In his honor, the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation was formed to continue his commitment to young people and the rest by educating everyone on the importance of Living SunSmart. What began simply as a tribute to Ray, has blossomed into a larger initiative to help save lives throughout the country – if not the world.
Ray Festa was born, raised and remained a lifelong resident of Montclair, New Jersey. He was an outstanding athlete and dedicated leader in all aspects of high school life. As an adult, Ray was the owner and operator of Ray’s Luncheonette, a beloved lunch spot for many. Ray’s Luncheonette became the place to be - a gathering spot for fun, conversation, community involvement and relaxation – all in a wholesome, friendly environment. There was an eclectic mix of customers, which facilitated communication among all groups. It didn’t matter whether you were a politician, a sanitation worker, doctor, police officer, lawyer, construction worker, banker, or teacher, everybody was treated with the same respect. At any given time, you would find people of differing backgrounds sitting side by side debating topics ranging from sports to politics to education and beyond - nothing was off-limits creating a dialog that only exists on social media networks today.
Ray’s business embodied his values – family, community involvement, sports, and the development of young people.
Ray married Linda, his high school classmate, in 1962 and had three children, Teri, Ricky and Kim. Sadly, he never met any of his six grandchildren, Bridget, Kate, Erin, Reese, Brendan and Colin. What makes this more tragic is that his death may have been avoided with better awareness.