Ray was a lifelong student and professor of the violin, having earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Bradley University in Peoria IL and a Master of Arts Degree from The University of Missouri in Columbia MO. In his early musical career he was a section player in various orchestras throughout the US including the San Antonio Symphony , Grant Park Symphony , St. Louis Symphony , Aspen Music Festival Symphony , as well as performing in countless ensemble and solo settings. In 1966 he accepted a position as Professor of Violin at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and spent the next 21 years teaching music courses and violin performance to an ever-evolving series of university students in classroom and studio, as well as many private students in his home. He also regularly performed in community symphonic and ensemble settings, most notably as first violinist of the Collegium Quartet, which toured and performed throughout Germany and Austria. He was subsequently named Faculty Emeritus by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Ray also loved spending time with friends and family at their Aspen inspired A-Frame cottage on Legend Lake in Wisconsin. It was not uncommon to hear the sounds of his violin echoing through the woods, along with the smells of the sourdough pancakes and anise seed bread he so enjoyed. The after-dinner ritual there in the north woods involved presenting his by then teenage boys with the false choice of “do the dishes or cut a tree” for which the latter was the predestined outcome. He was wisely insistent that those evening sessions cutting firewood with a two man saw would one day be remembered fondly. In 1984 Ray was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to spend a year as Visiting Professor of Violin at Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo, Japan. Ever the adventurers, Ray and Virginia soon found themselves 15 time zones east of Wisconsin, living and working in an impossibly dense, bustling city of 12.5 million and exploring the unfamiliar and exotic culture of the Far East. On the success of that initial year, Ray was offered a long term contract and spent an additional 9 years living and teaching in Tokyo. Those years involved too many multi-cultural experiences to enumerate but suffice it to say they took full advantage. Many colleagues and students representing many cultures and nationalities remained lifelong friends. In 1995 Ray and Virginia retired to Colorado where they proudly and artistically decorated their home and garden with the multitude of artwork and cultural items collected during their travels. Ray continued to perform concerts and holiday services at Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder CO and later at First Lutheran Church in Longmont CO. In addition he remained an avid supporter of the arts, regularly attending concerts, festivals, and theater performances throughout the Boulder/Denver area, Aspen CO, Tucson AZ, Savannah GA and on many trips abroad including London, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest, Munich, Krakow , and Dresden, among others. Ray’s love of music and teaching as well as his decades of performances touched and inspired many lives across several continents. He leaves a lasting and positive influence on the world and will be greatly missed. Ray's wishes were to be cremated and his ashes placed in the Columbarium at Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder Colorado. There will be a short service and his ashes will be placed there at some time in the future.
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