Ray was the first choir and band director for Minnetonka High School, beginning his work in 1949. After a band director was hired in 1963, Ray continued to lead the choral music program, retiring after impacting the lives of thousands of students, twenty-seven years later.
Ray was born in Nevada, Iowa, and was a graduate of Drake University. He did post-graduate study at Northwestern University, MacPhail School of Music and Boston University. He played in dance bands and military bands, and was music director for All Saints Lutheran Church in Minnetonka.
Music was his life. He gave piano and instrument lessons, led summer bands and mentored student teachers. While he received awards and recognitions for his work, he made no fanfare; teaching was his focus. He was a disciplined educator and students appreciated the results, staying in touch with him, even many years after graduation. "Having a teacher like you changed what I thought about myself and what I could accomplish," wrote one former student.
Ray started traditions. For 58 years the Minnetonka Choir has ended every concert with, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," a choral benediction for the community to share.
He raised five children who attended Minnetonka schools: Carol (Minkler) Traynor, Marilyn (Minkler) Kuntz, Janice (Minkler) Nicolay, Mark Minkler and James Minkler. His granddaughter, Anne Traynor, sings in the Minnetonka Choir. Ray passed away at the age of 96 in 2009.