Skyliners Organization Alumni Mourn The Loss Of Ray Priester

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sky_alumni_100x100The New York Skyliners Organization suffered a tremendous loss on Saturday April 30 with the sudden passing of longtime member of both the competing and Alumni Corps and Post Commander of the Garbarina-Mazarakos American Legion Post #1523 of Staten Island – Ray Priester. Ray was a lifetime member of the New York Skyliners, past Director of the Alumni Corps, and one of the Legends in Skyliner history.

Ray started marching in 1958 at the age of 11 with the Royal Blues Drum and Bugle Corps of Staten Island NY, a corps founded by his grandfather. He was also a past member of the Lawmen, Thunderbirds, and Statenaires of Staten Island.

In 1967, Ray joined the New York Skyliners as a snare drummer and eventually earned his 10 year diamond ring. As the alumni movement kicked into gear, Ray joined the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights in the early 1990’s. Upon the formation of the New York Skyliners Alumni Corps in 1994, Ray joined in 1997, and eventually became the corps Director, serving from 2004 through 2010. Following his tenure, he continued to remain active with the corps, serving as Quartermaster until 2013 and as an administrative consultant.

A Navy veteran, Ray was single-handedly instrumental in keeping the Garbarina Post active for many years. Ray worked as a Wall Street trader for many years and eventually worked at the College of Staten Island before he retired.

The New York Skyliners Alumni Corps dedicate the 2016 season to the memory of Ray Priester.


The Commander Has Left The Post

The Commander of The Post
Is taking a break
And now my heart
Pains deep with ache

A leader leads
But, some rise above others
For all that followed
Considered him their brother

Ray will not be soon forgotten
Nor the stories he leaves behind
For those who knew him
Will give pause and take time to remind

A Skyliner, through and true
No finer man wore the Red and Black
One only had to meet him briefly
To know he had your back

So, we sadly say goodbye
For the Commander has left The Post
Garbarina and Mazarakos now await him
As he joins the Spirit of New York

By Andy Lisko

Posted by on Friday, June 24th, 2016. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.