MILEFSKY RAY MILEFSKY "Mr. Ray" February 20, 1949 - August 1, 2016 Ray Milefsky, 67, passed away peacefully on August 1, 2016 after enduring prostate cancer treatments for over three years. In May 2014 Ray retired after 14 years as the boundaries and sovereignty expert in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. He and his wife, Nancie Majkowski, were able to enjoy good times with his beloved brother Steve and sister-in-law Chris. Ray cherished visits with his niece Anna Milefsky Engel and her husband Alex Engel, with his nephew Greg Milefsky and his wife Molly Keating Milefsky, and with his niece Rose Milefsky and her partner Sara Elizabeth Santa Cruz. Ray was overjoyed to welcome his great-nephew Milo, born to Molly and Greg in December 2014. Born to Raymond and Mildred (Minnick) Milefsky of Irvington, New Jersey, Ray's graduate studies in international relations brought him to American University in 1974. DC became his adopted hometown when he purchased a 1904 home in the Shaw neighborhood in 1986. "Mr. Ray" became a locally-recognized figure known for pas- sionate participation in Shaw neighborhood association meetings, effervescent social commentary communicated via graffiti painted on local unoccupied buildings, and for his online participation in the local blog. In the 1990s, Ray ran for neighborhood association representative as a write-in candidate, garnering 75 votes after going door-to-door teaching willing prospective supporters to spell "Milefsky." Ray poured his heart into his home and, during his 30 years of residency, he filled it with friends, sharing his many musical, cultural, and gastronomic interests. His food was delectable, the conversation stimulating, and the laughter constant. He delighted in playing music from his collection of hundreds of 78- and 33-rpm records, covering an incredible range of musical styles and cultures, playing the vintage discs on one of his three wind-up gramophones. Ray was a polyglot who spoke German, Japanese, and Russian fluently and was either conversant in or familiar with most Turkic and Slavic languages. With a geographer's curious mind, he soaked up information on the customs, language, religion, music, and food of any culture that came into his orbit. Many devoted family members, friends, neighbors, and former interns and colleagues visited and supported Nancie during Ray's illness. Colleagues in the international geography community credit Ray with making "a significant contribution to the peaceful resolution of boundary and territorial disputes around the world, and providing policymakers in the U.S. and other governments with thoroughly-researched analysis and practical recommendations for diffusing tensions between quarrelling neighbors. Ray also shared his encyclopaedic knowledge of boundary and many other issues with great generosity in academic and practitioner circles beyond government. A mentor and advisor to many, he will be deeply missed by his friends and colleagues." No services are planned. Nancie Majkowski urges anyone who knew Ray to raise a glass to him in fond remembrance.No services are planned. Nancie Majkowski urges anyone who knew Ray to raise a glass to him in fond remembrance.
Published in The Washington Post on Sep. 11, 2016.