Raymond Tower
1925 - 2017
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Raymond "Ray" C. Tower, age 92, passed away on December 3, 2017. He was born on February 20th, 1925 in New York City. Ray is survived by his wife of 23 years, Shirley Guthrie-Tower, who in recent years devoted herself to caring for him. Ray was predeceased by his first wife of 44 years, Jaclyn (nee Bauerline), and is survived by their children Raymond Jr. (Beverly), Patricia (Andrew) Filak, Christopher (Nancy), Robert (Leslie), Mary (Peter) Spizzirri, Michael (Margaret) and Victoria (Timothy) Foley as well as twenty-two grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Ray was known for his dedication to family, business accomplishments and charitable fundraising. However, many will remember him best as a skillful and amusing storyteller, who had an enormous repertoire and would routinely use dialects or accents to enhance his delivery. Ray was the President and Chief Operating Officer of FMC Corporation, one of the world's foremost, diversified chemical companies with leading positions in agricultural, industrial and consumer markets. After graduating from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1945, he served in the Navy in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. He later completed graduate work in chemistry at the Newark College of Engineering and attended the Harvard Advanced Management Program. Ray served on several Boards of Directors including Marathon Oil, Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., Household International, Inland Steel, Morton International, Wellman Inc. and Philadelphia National Bank. After retiring from FMC he became the Chairman of the Board for Evanston Hospital and the Northwestern Healthcare Network. He was also a member of the Chicago Club and Glen View Country Club. Ray had a passion for helping others and did so through his participation in the Big Shoulders Program, the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Notre Dame Science Advisory Council. After retirement he devoted much of his time to the Lost Tree Village Charitable Foundation, serving as the Foundation's President from 2001 to 2006. Ray took much pleasure spending time with his children and grandchildren. He instilled the love of sports in his children and was a model to each of them. He also enjoyed many happy (and some not so happy) hours on the golf course and was a voracious reader. Visitation, Thursday, December 7, 2017, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Boulevard, at Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077. Funeral Mass, Friday, December 8, 2017, 11:30 a.m. at Saints Faith Hope and Charity Church, 191 Linden Street Winnetka, IL 60093.Interment, All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Des Plaines, IL In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to, Lost Tree Village Charitable Foundation, 8 Church Lane North Palm Beach, FL 33408 www.losttreefoundation.org or Raymond C. Tower Scholarship at Yale University c/o Yale University Office of Development P.O. Box 2038 New Haven, CT 06521-2038 www.giving.yale.edu. Info: www.donnellanfuneral.com or (847) 675-1990.

Published in Chicago Tribune from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2017.
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Funeral Mass
11:30 AM
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
August 16, 2018
Seated on a plane at the Champaign-Urbana airport, waiting for the remaining passengers to board the short flight back to Chicago, a by-then-familiar voice asked, "Do you mind if I join you? I had to smile, as Ray was already sliding into seat next to me, permission or no.

"You're one of our boys, aren't you?" he asked, as he settled into the cramped seat. Warm and friendly, he still managed to exude a quiet gravitas which compelled me to instinctively reply, "Yes, sir", as if I were still back in the U.S. Air Force. Of course, he had already known the answer to his question, but it was a good opener to kick off the conversation.

We had only met, briefly, just that morning, at a photo-op with some of my colleagues. The only surviving photograph of that occasion shows all of us garbed in light-blue lab coats, surrounding Ray as we stand next to one of NCSA's supercomputers. Not surprisingly, the image shows us all laughing heartily at one of Ray's many jokes.

With a subtle hand gesture, Ray managed to summon the flight attendant as he asked,"Can I buy you a drink?". I'm sure he already knew the answer to that question, also. "Certainly" was my non-nonchalant reply, as I attempted to mimic Ray's level of cool confidence.

We casually chit-chatted for a bit, until our cocktails arrived, and then Ray subtlety got down to business, in a transition that was so smooth, it was almost imperceptible. I then realized more fully why he was such a legend.

Drink in one hand, and a pen in the other, he drew a graph on his cocktail napkin, and began his pitch. He explained that the graph indicated time on one axis, and progress on the other.

He slowly and painfully drew a shallow angle indicating a modest achievement, then referring to one of the other NCSA Industrial Partners, he said, "That's Caterpillar". His voice had a serious tone, and he shot me a quick squint eye-to-eye to make sure he drove home his point. I wasn't quite sure what was coming next.

Without breaking eye contact, Ray made a quick slash of the pen to draw another line, representing the ideal forty-five degree slope of achievement that a man in his position always expects to see, but seldom does. "That's you guys", he said with the evident self-satisfaction of a man who had just bested a friendly rival. The clink of our two glasses, as he toasted our mutual success, still rings in my ears today.

As Ray began to place down his drink, I reached for his napkin-graph and asked, "Do you mind if I keep this? I want to give it to a friend". "Sure" he said, looking a bit puzzled. Then I followed with,"But first you have to sign it". Smiling a broad smile, he kindly obliged with a flourishing autograph.

The short flight back to Chicago was all too short, as I could have listened to that man tell stories, forever. Yet, he generously gave equal time, and listened, carefully, as much as he spoke. That all-too-brief conversation was one of the most memorable experiences of my entire FMC career.

I had to make a connection in Chicago, in order to return to my office at FMC's Corporate Technology Center,in Santa Clara, California. As Ray and I exchanged farewells at O'Hare Airport, I secretly wished he was going back to the coast with me. I would have loved spend more time with him, but never again had the opportunity.

I think what impressed me the most was that -- despite the evident difference in our relative positions within the corporate structure -- Ray treated me as a true peer and colleague. I considered it a great privilege to have spent just that short amount of time with someone possessed of such intellect, warmth, and quiet, understated power.

When I returned to my office at CTC the next day -- with cocktail napkin in hand -- I went to the office of my friend and colleague, K. Micheal Skreiner, Phd. As Manager of the Numerical Simulation and Analysis Department at CTC, it was Mike's visionary leadership that Ray had actually been toasting on the flight to Chicago.

Mike listened with evident pride and joy as I related my encounter with Ray, obviously wishing he had shared the experience. I then presented Ray's autographed napkin-chart to Mike as a gift, and gave credit where credit was due.

The very next day, I again visited Mike's office, where I found him seated at his desk with a broad smile, looking as happy as I had ever seen him. Prominently displayed in the center of the wall behind him -- as if it were a holy relic -- was the framed napkin-graph presented to me by Ray Tower.
Stephen Steward
March 22, 2018
Ray hired me in 1959 and we played more golf together than anyone in the company. Ray was a great friend and boss for 30 years.
john sullivan
December 14, 2017
We have lost a leader in many endeavors: business, charity, church, mentoring and family. Ray will be missed.
Ron Whitaker
December 7, 2017

December 7, 2017
Tower Family
I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. He was a great man. He and Jackie were great friends to my Mom and Dad. I know they had many wonderful times together. They were both so kind to me when we moved here from CT. I will always remember the Tower
Family with fond memories. May the Lord provide peace at this difficult time.
Marybeth Oskin Kopaczewski
December 6, 2017
To all the Tower family may God of all comfort give you the strength during this difficult time of grief Psmals 29:11
December 6, 2017
Mrs Tower and Family
Sorry for your loss.
Mary Nichols Dick
December 6, 2017
Chris and Nancy, we were so sorry to hear of your Father's passing. We are sending you prayers...
Larry & Terry Meek
December 6, 2017
We will miss and fondly remember or dear friend, Ray. The world's best story teller, friend, mentor and caring leader (and perhaps the worst golfer).

A real humanist, loving husband and quiet philanthropist, he will be an inspiration to us forever.

Barbara & Jerry Pearlman
December 6, 2017
I am sorry for your loss.May the God of all comfort be with you during this difficult time.
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