Iowans say goodbye to former Gov. Ray

posted by Gary Barrett - 

Iowans got to pay their respects one last time to former Governor Robert D. Ray.

Ray's casket was taken from Dunn's Funeral Home Thursday along a motorcade that highlighted his life in Des Moines.  It passed Terrace Hill, the Governors' Mansion that Ray was the first governor to occupy.

Then it went down Grand Avenue to 42nd Street, past Roosevelt High School.  Ray attended the school, and met his future wife there.  From Roosevelt, it went to Drake University.  Ray graduated from Drake, and later would be on its Board of Governors and then serve for over a year as its interim president and CEO.

From Drake, the motorcade traveled to downtown Des Moines.  Ray was the President and CEO of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Iowa (now Wellmark) which is located there.  The motorcade then went to Des Moines City Hall via Robert D. Ray Drive, named after Ray served as interim mayor of the city.  

After leaving city hall, a state trooper joined the motorcade, leading it to the capitol.

An honor guard of Iowa State Patrol officers, Des Moines police officers and members of the Iowa National Guard helped to bring Ray's casket to the rotunda.

Three wreaths were presented in the rotunda: One from the Tai Dam community to commemorate Ray's work to bring refugees from the war in southeast Asia to Iowa to live and work, one of the wreaths was from Ray's family, and the third was from the entire state of Iowa, presented by Governor Kim Reynolds.

On hand for that ceremony was a crowd of several hundred from the Iowa Tai Dam community.  There also were politicians and former politicians from both sides of the aisle:  Former Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and his wife Mari, Former Democratic Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, Democratic Attorney General of Iowa Tom Miller, along with current Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow and many former staff members of Governor Ray's and friends through the years.

Hundreds of people filed past the closed casket to pay their respects.

The funeral for Governor Ray was set for 1pm at First Christian Church at 25th and University Friday.


WHO Radio News

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