By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer
Ray Anaya first met Raymond Sena at the American Legion Post 25 more than 30 years ago.
Anaya, who recently became engaged to Sena’s cousin, Barbara, found himself suspended by his shirt collar, being held by Sena.
“I was scared at first,” Anaya said. “My feet were dangling under me.”
“That was the start of our relationship.”
Family members said Sena was always looking out for those he loved. Raymond Sena died Friday, June 3. He was 65.
Barbara Anaya said her cousin was a big, tall man. Though seemingly intimidating, the stunt with Ray Anaya was just a bit of good-natured ribbing.
“I introduced my husband-to-be to Raymond as my big brother,” Barbara Anaya said. “(Raymond) picked him up by his shirt collar and told him he better take good care of me.”
“My husband, he wasn’t so big,” she said. “Raymond was the brother I never had. He was so protective of me.”
Sena had served in the U.S. Army, at one point co-owned a furniture store on Main Street, and later worked at McDaniel’s Furniture Store.
“My dad always wanted us to do better than him,” said Randy Sena, son of Raymond. “He wanted a better life for us and pushed me and my brother and sister to do better.”
The younger Sena said his father “used to take me and my brother fishing and taught us how to hunt. He was a great dad always involved in our activities as kids. He coached Little League and was at every game when we were in junior high and high school.”
Family members said they wish they had more time to spend with Raymond Sena before his death.
Randy Sena said his father died of an infection in his blood stream.
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