Ray was born in Pine River, and he has lived in the Brainerd area for most of his life. Ray worked for 8 years in the restaurant field in the Brainerd Lakes area, as well as the paper mill for 4 years. Ray has worked for 33 years as an educator; six years as an elementary teacher, and 27 years as a college administrator in Staples and Brainerd, retiring in 2004 as a Vice President of Central Lakes College. Ray has also preformed as a musician, been a commercial beekeeper, and was a co-owner of a nursery business specializing in landscape products. In 2005, Ray published “Legends & Legacies”, a History of the Nisswa Guides League”, as well as writing freelance outdoor articles for newspapers.
Ray contributes his love for fishing to his grandfather, at age 2 Ray and his grandfather would fish on the Pine River using a cane pole with worms and grasshoppers for bait. Ray likes to fish most fresh water species from muskies to catfish, and he fishes all season long. Ray has been married to his wife, Gwynne, for 30 years and they have one daughter, Melissa. Melissa and her husband, Mitchell, are the proud parents of Ray’s two grandchildren.