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In Memory

Campus Memorial Service Scheduled for John Ray, Horticulture Department Employee

March 17, 2011

John Andrew Ray was born on Sept. 5, 1962, in Bethesda, Md., and died Saturday, March 12, in Fort Collins.

John RayJohn "Andrew" was raised in Richmond, Va. and graduated from Huguenot High School in 1980. He was passionate about white-water rafting and he continued to pursue his interest when he moved to Fort Collins. He attended Colorado State University and received an undergraduate degree from the Horticulture Department in 1989. After graduation he propagated old garden roses at the High Country Rosarium in Denver.

John received a masters degree in agricultural systems management at Purdue University in 1993. He thoroughly enjoyed expanding his horticultural expertise when he accepted a position as a research technician in the Fruit and Vegetable Science Department at Cornell University. He was actively involved with the Cornell Orchards and became knowledgeable about apple tree propagation, paw paw trees, hard cider production and environmental data collection and management.

He married Gayle Volk, whom he had met during his years at CSU, on August 6, 1994, in Corvallis, Ore. In 1998, John and Gayle moved to Pullman, Wash., where John performed cold hardiness research in wheat as a research technician for USDA-ARS. In 1999, they returned to Fort Collins and they welcomed their daughter Emily into their lives in 2000. Their son, Christopher, was born in 2002. John has been a research associate in the Horticultural and Landscape Architecture Department at CSU where he managed the Plant Environmental Research Center greenhouses on the CSU campus. He coordinated the CSU annual poinsettia variety trials, Easter lily crop, and spring plant sales as part of the student practicum program. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing his love of horticulture with students and the Fort Collins community.

John was a devoted husband and father. Together their family enjoyed numerous travel opportunities and they shared their love of plants. They frequently spent summer weekends camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. John continued his lifelong desire to learn new things and began beekeeping in 2010. He recently had become active in developing an interior plantscapes class for CSU. He was known for always being available to friends and family. He is dearly missed by the many who knew and loved him.

John is survived by his wife Gayle and their children, Emily (11) and Christopher (8) Ray; parents James Roberts and Catherine Tissot Ray of Richmond, Va.; siblings Sarah Ray Pickard of Stafford, Va., Michael Ray of Richmond, Va. and Jennie Ray Hart of Manakin Sabot, Va., as well as their families.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Rome and Elouise Simmons and Catherine Tissot, and his brother James Roberts "Robbie" Ray, Jr.

A service of remembrance will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 18th at the CSU Lory Student Center, Cherokee Park Room. John's family requests that any memorial donations please be made to Emily and Christopher Ray Donation Fund c/o First National Bank, PO Box 578, Ft Collins, CO 80521 OR to The Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., Ft. Collins, CO 80526.

Please go to and click obituaries to sign John's online guest book.

Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Phone: (970) 491-6009