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D. Ray Heisey

D. Ray Heisey Obituary
D. Ray Heisey, 79, died May 20, 2011 at University Hospitals, Cleveland, after a three month battle with thyroid cancer.

Born in Gladwin, Mich., he was raised in Louisville, Ohio. After completing degrees at Greenville College, Messiah College, Ohio State University (M.A.) and Northwestern University (Ph. D.), he taught eight years at Messiah College, then served 30 years at Kent State University as a professor of public address and intercultural communication, the last 12 years as Director of the School of Communication Studies. Upon retiring in 1996, he was honored with the title of professor and director emeritus and also received the President's Medal in 1997.

Dr. Heisey served as President of Damavand College in Tehran, Iran (1975-78) and taught in Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, and China. He initiated exchange programs with institutions in England, Sweden, Poland and China. In 1996 and 2000 he taught at Peking University in Beijing, China. The author of many journal articles and book chapters, he was also the editor of Chinese Perspectives in Rhetoric and Communication (2000). He was recognized in his field as one of the major intellectual contributors to the area of intercultural communication.

He attended Kent Presbyterian Church since 1968 and had been an active member of the choir and frequent contributor in adult education. He was an avid genealogist, serving on the board of the Brimfield Historical Society, and authoring Healing Body and Soul: The Life and Times of W. O. Baker, a leader in the Brethren In Christ denomination (BIC). Heisey himself was an ordained minister in the BIC church. He loved traveling and experiencing other cultures, and has lived in or visited over 40 countries.

In addition to his wife, Susanne (VanValin), whom he married in 1959 and who accompanied Ray on most of his world travels; survivors include sons, Kevin (Elizabeth) and grandchildren, Erin, Megan, Clare and Paul of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Alec (Alece) of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Ian (Christine) of Cleveland, Ohio; sister, Ruth Blackketter, of Leedey, Okla.; brother, Marion J. (Beverly) of Albuquerque, N.M.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, H. Orville.

Cremation is planned. Calling hours to greet the family will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, at Kent Presbyterian Church, 1456 East Summit St., Kent, OH, 44240. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, at the same location. Memorials may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, 1013 Division Street Goshen, IN 46528 ([email protected]).

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on May 26, 2011
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