Obituary: David Arthur Ray
David Arthur Ray
Feb. 2, 1928 to March 4, 2018
David Arthur Ray, a longtime Summit County resident, who loved the life he lived here, died peacefully on March 4, in Columbus, Texas. He was born on February 2, 1928, in Findlay, Ohio, to Dorothy Ray Baker and Edward Ray. He is survived by his wife Ann; his sister Susan Hanson; his daughters and their husbands, Lorrie Ray and Charles Clark, and Amy and Paul Seymour; his three grandchildren; and his beloved dog.
Dave moved to Summit County in 1957, when the future of the county was taking shape. He had a law practice in Kremmling and a ranch on the Blue River, north of Silverthorne. While practicing law, he researched the graves in Dillon’s town cemetery so the graves could be moved before it was flooded by the reservoir, and he could notify next of kin. He met his lifelong friends, Ben and Kitty Simcox, when Ben was working on the Roberts Tunnel as a part of the reservoir’s construction.
Ranching was what he loved most, despite the fact that — as he pointed out — he and Don Hanson, his brother-in-law, initially had no idea what they were doing. They learned one of many lessons the hard way when they built a corral with the slats on the outside of the fence posts and the cows ran right through them. He enjoyed teaching his daughters and their friends to ride horses and was always willing to saddle them up for the kids.
To supplement his income he acted as a guide, taking hunters into the mountains in the fall on his horse, Socks, and driving his semi to New Mexico, selling hay to the race track. When he saw the bottom drop out of the cattle market, Dave subdivided some of his property and built some homes to sell. He wanted to build a ski area and golf course on the property and got a good start on it. During this time he helped find a route for I-70 as it came down from the tunnel, and he bought and sold heavy equipment. He rented his backhoe to Copper Mountain in exchange for ski passes for his family. He worked as a maître’ d at the Navigator restaurant in Keystone, saying it was a losing deal for the restaurant because of all the food he had for free.
In those early days he learned to ski at Arapahoe Basin, and enjoyed the company of those who were enjoying the brand new ski industry. This included John and Stoney Younger, Lee and Joyce Heflin, John Bailey, Alex Mesa and others. He taught his daughters to ski, and spent many weekends and holidays taking them and their mom, Susan, to ski areas in Colorado and other western states.
Once Lake Dillon was full and sailing took off, he started racing. He took it to the limits: his Santana suffered a broken mast; the Ensign swamped (and was dubbed the yellow submarine); and he nearly capsized his J24. Despite his mishaps, he and his crew including Gary Wilkinson, Jay Bauer, Mark Burnell and other adept members won many awards, even a second-place finish when the J24 nearly capsized.
He met the love of his life, Ann, in 1988. They were married on July 16, 1989, in a private early morning ceremony, so that he could race his boat that afternoon. They built a house in Ruby Ranch, and then in 1992 moved to Montana when they put a stoplight in Silverthorne, and Dave thought it was too crowded in Summit County. But, they didn’t stay away and moved back in 1999. They bought a small home on the Snake River, adding onto it with one last building project. He enjoyed the company of his friends and family there, and loved the sound of the Snake River rushing by below. The last six years of his life he spent warmer winters in Texas while returning to Keystone for the summer.
An informal celebration of life will be held in the Summit County Community Center in Frisco at 2 p.m. on June 2, where fun stories of Dave can be shared.
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