Jim was born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in Tacoma, Washington where he attended St. Leo’s Parochial School and Bellarmine High School.
Jim continued on to Seattle University where he met his future wife, Audrey Bailey, and began on his path as a natural leader with a keen sense of volunteerism and social responsibility.
He credited his early Jesuit education as leaving an indelible impression which helped to shape his faith and values for the remainder of his life.
Upon graduation from Seattle U., Jim and Audrey moved to the East coast to complete Jim’s military service with the U.S. Army.
While still on the East coast Jim was hired by the IBM Corporation.
The rapidly growing family soon returned to their Northwest roots and quickly became ensconced in the community where, among other pursuits, Jim enjoyed many years with his fellow SU alums as a Seafair clown.
When Jim Ray arrived in Spokane with his family in 1975 people were unaware what this gregarious Irishman had in store.
He came armed with a sense of civic duty, an undeniable work ethic and the gift of gab.
While continuing his career as a Marketing Manager for IBM, he was also able to dedicate his time and talents to numerous volunteer and civic organizations.
One of Jim’s lasting impressions on the city of Spokane will be his vision and desire to provide its residents with a new Arena, which he wholeheartedly believed would bring a new energy and countless benefits to the community as a whole.
Tireless in his efforts over the course of several years, Jim became an instrumental contributor in seeing this vision come to fruition with the completion of the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Beginning with its inception, he served on the Spokane Public Facilities District Board for ten years.
Beginning as a young sales trainee, Jim’s career at IBM spanned 31 years marked by professional achievements and individual satisfaction.
This included sales, marketing, and managing positions in Seattle, Los Angeles, Spokane, and Asia.
IBM provided a plethora of unbelievable opportunities for this ambitious young man of humble beginnings and his family, and for this he was always grateful.
One of Jim’s favorite quotes was, “It is better to fail at doing something than succeed in doing nothing.”
His volunteerism and commitment to success exemplified this many times over.
Some of Jim’s volunteer positions and community awards throughout the years included: Seattle University Student Body President; President Seattle University Graduates Club; Seafair Clowns Chairman; United Way of Spokane County (Campaign Chairman, Fundraising, Administration, Executive Committee); United Way of Washington-VP; Spokane Youth Sports - BOD; Eastern WA Campaign Mngr - Gov.
John Spellman; Eastern Washington University Board of Trustees Chairman; Spokane Public Facilities District Board Chairman; Spokane-Limerick Irish Sister City - BOD; Governor’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Narrows Bridge; Lakewood Rotary; United Way State Volunteer of the Year; IBM Community Service Award; Spokane North Rotary Community Service Award; Seattle University Community Service Award; City of Spokane Outstanding Citizen Award; State of Washington Distinguished Volunteer Award; Spokane Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Irish Man of the Year.
Jim is survived by his four children: Jim Ray (Aracely), Theresa Ray, Chris Ray (Karen), Eileen Williams (Larry); thirteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Audrey, daughter Debra Ray, and granddaughter Jessica.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Bellarmine Preparatory School (Jesuit Chapel), Tacoma, Wa on Sat., Oct. 5th at 10:00 AM.
A reception will follow at Allenmore Golf Course 2125 S. Cedar St, Tacoma.
Remembrance donations may be made in Jim’s name to Bellarmine Preparatory School - Student Financial Aid, 2300 S. Washington, Tacoma, WA 98405 or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Minnesota Chapter, 8011 34th Avenue South, Suite 116, Bloomington, MN 55425.
To view Jim’s online memorial, please visit www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements entrusted to
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