Bill Ray (1922 - 2013)

  • "Bill, you were a good friend for over 50 years. I will miss..."
    - William Huston
  • "Bill was a great friend and I will miss him. Most people..."
    - Pat Wellington
  • "Bill, So sorry for your loss. Jackie and Mike Knauss."
  • "Please accept my condolences, I knew Sen. Ray from my days..."
  • "Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us..."

Senator Bill Ray was born April 6, 1922, in Anaconda, Montana. His early years were spent in Montana, Idaho and Oregon with his mother and sister. He attended a military academy in Vernonia, OR, and graduated from Wallace High School in Idaho in 1938.

After high school, Bill joined his parents on their adventure to
Southeast Alaska. He soon joined the Navy and was stationed in both Adak, AK and Honolulu, HI. He was honorably discharged from the Navy as a Chief Radioman. Bill rejoined his parents, Marchetta and Eli Ray, in Juneau, where they had opened a bar named the Pamaray (for Pa and Ma Ray).

A handsome young bachelor, Bill worked as a longshoreman, a bartender and a fisherman. In 1946, he married Jeanne Haas. He became a father to Terry and Billy in the following years.

Bill and Jeanne opened a series of liquor stores in Juneau. Bill was appointed to the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board by Governor Bill Egan. He was later named Director of the board.

Bill's charisma and penchant for leadership evolved into a political career. He served in the Alaska State Legislature for 22 years. Due to his popularity and determination to represent the citizens of Juneau and Alaska, he ran several terms unopposed. During his time in the Legislature, he was instrumental in acquiring funding for the Dimond Court House, the State Office Building, University of Alaska Juneau, and The Alaska Permanent Fund. He was an honorary State Trooper, an honorary Fire Fighter, and an honorary member of the Filipino community.

In later years, Bill married his second wife and true love, Nancy. They enjoyed trips to Greece, Hawaii and other exotic locations together. Bill retired so they could spend more time exploring and enjoying life together. In 2001, they left Juneau and moved to their dream house in Sequim, WA.

Retirement did not mean a slower pace, however. While in Washington, Bill published two books, Liquor, Legislation & Laughter: the Story of an S.O.B. (Sweet Old Bill) and most recently, The Hacker's Bible, a golfing handbook. Bill spent hours honing his golf swing and emailing jokes to friends and family. He gazed at the view of sunny Sequim from his deck. Bill enjoyed fishing and painting. He had a sharp wit and a wicked memory.

His family and friends fondly remember sitting around the dinner or breakfast table while Bill spun stories from his glory years.

Bill died suddenly in Seattle following a heart attack on September 9.

He is survived by his wife Nancy; daughter and son-in-law Terry and Roger Shattuck of Maine, son and daughter-in-law Bill C. Ray and Jutta Eming of Berlin, Germany, step-daughter Tia (Steve) Brown of Idaho, step-son Jimmy Tallman of Sequim, WA; granddaughters Lynn Shattuck, of Portland, Maine and Darby Brown of Juneau, AK, grandsons Julian and Lukas Ray, of Berlin, Germany and Zachary Brown of Marysville, WA; great-grandchildren Maxwell and Violet Sarapas, of Portland, Maine; sister-in-law Jane Randolph of Sequim; nephew Doug (Lile) Olson of Idaho, and niece Donna Olson of Idaho.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Amber Marie Olson and his grandson Will Shattuck.

Per Bill's wishes, no services will be held.

Condolence cards may be sent to:
Nancy Ray
613 Fox Hollow Road
Sequim, WA 98382.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Sept. 19, 2013
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