Paradise Valley – It is with great sadness that the family of Oliver (Michael) Ray 79, announces that he lost his battle with cancer and passed away on July 31, 2022, with his loving family at his side. Michael was born on November 22, 1942 in Kansas City, Missouri, and was the child of Eugene Monroe (Charlie) Ray and Lois Burnett Ray.
The family moved to the valley from Arkansas in 1946 where his father established Ray Lumber Company.
Michael graduated from Madison One in 1957 and from there he graduated from Central High in 1961, which was then the first four-year graduating class.
He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1966 where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and there he affectionately acquired the nickname “Hogger”.
He proudly served in the Air National Guard for six years.
He was married to Teresa Akey Ray in 1969 and they were married for 31 years, parted ways, but always remained close friends. They are the proud parents of two loving sons, Charles “Charlie” Ray, and Christopher “Andy” Ray (deceased). As a family they had many fond memories of spending time at their cabin in Pinetop, ski trips to Aspen and vacationing on the California coast.
He was employed at United Wholesale Distributors, one of the subsidiaries of the Ray Lumber Company, and later became President and sole owner. He sold the business in 1987.
He later met Karen Martin and together they enjoyed a wonderful life together, traveling, and enjoying family vacations to Newport Beach and Pinetop. The Ray family is so very thankful for the loving care that Karen gave to Michael up to his very end.
Michael was an avid hunter and had all but the big horn sheep for the big ten for the state of Arizona. He also was an avid golfer in his earlier years and was always there to support the Thunderbirds and playing in their opening golf event. He cherished all the many wonderful friendships he made throughout the years, on and off the golf course. We all will remember Michael for his beautiful smile, with a kind and generous heart.
He was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Monroe Ray, mother Lois Burnett Ray, and son Christopher Andrew Ray.
He is survived by his son Charles Michael Ray, partner Karen Martin, her loving family, his ex. Teresa Ray and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at
Donations honoring his memory can be made to Arizona Game and Fish Department (www.azwildlifehero.com) or the charity of your choice.
A Celebration of Life is planned for a later date.
Posey Moore Nash
Mike Ray was one of the nicest guys to walk this earth! Karen , bless you for your love and care.
May he rest in peace. Vaya con Dios…………………………………
Charlie, Karen, Teresa, and all of Mike’s family have my deepest condolences for your incredible loss.
I feel so appreciative of Mike for raising the two most wonderful sons. Mike was such a kind, open, friendly, sincere man with a great sense of humor. He brought all of this and more to raising Charlie and Andy who both became incredible human beings. I hope Mike’s wonderful life, and all the memories, bring you all comfort during this difficult time.
Rest in Peace Mike
Karen: So sorry to hear the news. Wishing you the best.
Dave and I have had a lot of good times with Mikey and his family skiing and in Pinetop. He was instrumental in us building our home in Pinetop 1979. You will be missed buddy!!
I was so saddened to hear about the loss of Mike. I went to High School and college with him. Yes he was a very nice and great guy. Always smiling. He was always fun to be around. Used to see him at PVCC and we always talked about who we have seen lately from school. He was very well liked both in high school and college. He loved the Phi Delt house at AZ. I was privileged to be a little sister of the Phi Delts (phidelphian). He will be greatly missed. I was happy to be a friend of his. With great fondness. Jean
Mike was a most loving father, and where there is love there is family. My deepest sympathies.
This is the loss of a genuinely great guy. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Went to Central High School with Mike and some of his cousins. Many trips to California. Just the nicest guy around. Had lunch with Mike, Steve and big Ray recently. Mike will be missed.
Hogger I knew you in high school, college and afterword. You were always a great person and you will be missed by your wonderful family and many friends
Thank you Karen for taking care of Mike all these years
Our condolences to the Ray family on the loss of Mike Ray. I thought you would like to know that he was a significant figure in my life after I graduated from Central High School in 1972. I knew I wanted to go to college, but I had no funds for that. One of my dad’s friends knew the Ray family and he introduced me to Mike Ray. Mike offered me a job at United Wholesale that summer and I was able to earn enough money to attend the University of Arizona as a freshman in the fall of 1972. Mike continued helping me by bringing me back on at United Wholesale over Christmas break and again during the summer of 1973. By then, I had learned enough to operate a 10-wheel International Lodestar with a full load of sheet rock and towing a Hyster forklift. Five forward speeds and a 3-speed Brownie transmission was a lot for a young man like me, but I was able to learn quickly with the help of other employees. Were it not for Mike’s support by employing me and being so flexible with that employment, I doubt that I would have been able to graduate the U of A (with Honors) four years later. I will never forget Mike and I hope that my gratitude and later success in business shows his family what kind of a man he was. Thank you Mike and may God watch over you, your family and your loved ones.
To the family of Mike Ray……As an owner of Southwest Rebar, United Wholesale was a major supplier for years. Mike always treated us fairly and fond memories will always be there of that supplier relationship. We wish the best to the posterity of Gene and Michael. Bryan Toone