On Sunday morning, April 5, 1998, Joseph Rawlins Ray died peacefully, surrounded by his family. The cause of his death was age and Parkinson's Disease.
Joseph was born March 28, 1915 in Salt Lake City, Utah to William Wallace Ray and Leda Rawlins Ray. He attended East High School, The University of Utah and Stanford University, graduating in 1936. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta.He married Isabel Critchlow on April 15, 1938. At the time of his death, they have been married nearly 60 years.
After joining his uncle, Donald E. Ray at Ray & Whitney Food Brokerage Co. in 1946, he went on to develop a successful and highly respected career. Joseph was also president of Civic Music and of the Salt Lake Art Center. He served on the boards of Rowland Hall School and Westminster College and was honored as a lifetime member of the Utah Retail Grocer's Association.
His hobbies included flower gardening, model trains, science, reading, travel, boating, bridge with his friends at the Alta Club, and flyfishing at his beloved North Fork Club.
Joe had a lifelong love of music. His piano playing was legendary and a source of joy for him and countless others. He rarely missed his weekly Utah Symphony concert and for 25 years organized and directed the Millbrook neighborhood Christmas caroling. Among his many interests and commitments, love and support for his family came first.
He made dear friends wherever he went, from Brighton, to Idaho, to Carmel, to New York, to France, and throughout his sales career. He met, befriended and mentored many young people in whom he always recognized greatness. As with most people in Joe's life, he loved them, they loved him, and they inspired each other. He taught us about loving, laughing, crying, generosity, honesty, integrity, dignity and respect. His courage and unfailing spirit in his final years was remarkable.
Joseph is survived by his wife, Isabel; and their children, Josephine R. Hunt (E.K.), Salt Lake City; Penelope R. Vernet (Andre R.), Exeter, NH; William W. Ray (Lynnae W.), Bountiful. He is also survived by his sister, Julia R. Hills (John R.), Richland, WA; and his grandchildren, Joseph A. Roach (Victoria Parrish), Washington, D.C.; Kathryn Roach Nicolich (Robert J.), Salt Lake City; Daniel W. Ray (Marcy Lynne), Chapel Hill, NC; William R. Ray, Salt Lake City; and Julien Alexander Vernet, Exeter, NH. Joseph was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers, Phillip A. Ray and William R. Ray.
The family extends special heartfelt thanks to the entire staff at St. Joseph's Villa where he spent his last years, for all the loving care, support and compassion shown to Joe, Isabel and their family. They are truly saints!
There will be a celebration of Joe's life at St. Mark's Cathedral, 231 East 100 So. on Saturday, April 18, 1998 at 1 p.m. followed by an open house at the home of his daughter, Jodie, 1065 E. Second Ave. (between R and S Streets). It was his longstanding wish that upon his death, his friends and family gather for laughter, music, stories and good food. All who loved him or his family are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Joseph's Villa, The Utah Symphony, The Rawlins House Restoration at Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School, Westminster College, or the Henry's Fork Foundation.
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