Tribute to former Great Lakes real estate agent Ray Startin | Great Lakes Defender


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Ray Startin was a humble man and a very good businessman who had a dream and took a bet. This bet was in real estate in Forster in the late 1950s, just two years before the opening of the bridge connecting the twin towns of Forster-Tuncurry. It was a time of growth and opportunity and the sign from Ray’s corporate side summed it up – “If you’re thinking about quitting, see Startin”. Raymond Lindsay Startin died on July 11, 2021, at the age of 92, and his funeral was held at Holy Name Catholic Church, Forster on July 20. Due to the public health order in place due to the COVID pandemic, the number of participants was limited but the service was broadcast live. Ray grew up on his parents’ farm in Dyers Crossing. Her father John (also known as Jack) had met Emily Croker, of Dargavilles Road, at a ball in Krambach. They married and had eight children, five boys and three girls. Ray was the third youngest. Ray and his two sisters rode 11 kilometers to Khoribakh Primary School, with his younger sister Val sandwiched between him and Ruth. The horse would spend the day in the paddock next to the school, and the three Startin kids would travel the seven miles home. The Khoribakh school no longer exists, informs Sister Ruth. Ray then attended Taree High School and earned the Intermediate Certificate. Ray met his wife, Clare Wisemantel, of Bucca Wauka, at a ball in Krambach and they were married in 1955 at the Catholic Church in Krambach. Ray was sharecropping on his father’s dairy property. It was 1957 when Ray and Clare made a bet. Having decided that farming life was not for them, the couple moved to Forster. Ray launched his real estate business, Ray Startin Real Estate, and Clare opened Clare’s shoe store in nearby Wallis Street. They lived in the small apartment at the back. Ray was aware of the need to evolve with the times. In 1966 he built new premises and in 1974 his real estate business needed more space, so Clare closed the shoe store and Ray’s business gained more office space. In 1982 he opened a modern office and storefront in Wharf Street, Forster. Ray played a major role in the CH Degotardi sales program of Anglers Paradise, Green Point, Pipers Bay and Smiths Lake. He was also associated with Haining and Pearlman’s land sales at Diamond Beach, Black Head and One Mile Beach. Ray was involved with the builders and developers of Forster, Oceanic and Ebbtide’s first quality high rise waterfront units. His business was in the business of vacation rentals and permanent rentals. Later, Ray and Clare’s son Gary joined the business and studied for his real estate license after leaving school. In 1985, Ray bought the real estate business from James Douglas on Main Street in Tuncurry and Gary became the owner. Ray has seen a lot of Forster’s wonderful years of development. He remembered the long line of cars moving slowly along the street, waiting for their place on the ferry to cross the lake to Tuncurry. At six cars per trip, and two trips per hour, the wait was often long. The population of the area at that time was around 3,000. Then, on July 16, 1959, the Forster-Tuncurry Bridge was opened by the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. JJ Cahill. Ray had a passion for Forster. “I think he has a great future,” he said in 1987, when his firm joined Elders Real Estate. “It is the most attractive part of the coast and one of the best climates in the world. We are now seeing (1987) that there is a growing interest among people looking for houses, land for a future. construction and unity. ” At 17, Ray joined the Black Head Surf Club. He was a strong swimmer and was a surf belt champion. He also loved tennis, cricket and the rugby league. He and Clare worked as volunteers in Forster’s first triathlon, the Nutrimetics Tri, and he competed in the Oyster Festival. LJ Hooker, who Ray worked for, had a float at the festival. He was also a co-owner of the Bellevue Hotel, which had a swimming pool in the beer garden. Ray and Clare enjoyed traveling overseas and celebrated their wedding anniversaries in gold and diamonds. Ray was a fitness fanatic, enjoying daily walking until his later years, and Clare, who passed away in 2014, enjoyed swimming daily at Forster Main Beach. They lived at Beaches International. At 91, Ray was still actively interested in his business. He had a property on Wharf Street that he was planning to renovate when his neighbor Greg Gibson, of Unified Health, asked Ray to buy it to grow his business. Ray thought about it, spoke to his son, and came back to Greg to seal the deal the old fashioned way – with a handshake. This was the last case Ray did. Gary started his own strata management business and Ray, as a helper, delivering mail daily. Ray liked paperwork, was good at numbers, and had a good business mind, but didn’t give advice because he didn’t want to be responsible for bad advice. He often told his niece Gloria Newton to “sail straight ahead” so as not to deviate from his course.



About Wanda G. Warren

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