Ray was first and foremost a bladesmith. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of his museum quality knives to show you. Most of them are in private collections. Ray had been interested in metal working all his life, taking his first jewelry class in high school. He wanted to be a jeweler, but his father was mortified that any son of his should sit at a bench and work with his hands. Never mind that Ray had talent, intelligence and a desire to find his own voice-his career plans didn’t fit in with his father’s myth.
His parents split up when he was two and his parents remarried and had new families . There was no place for Ray. He was on his own from an early age, but he had a way about him that made people invite him into their families almost everywhere he went. Ray settled down with my sister-in-law Shari, pictured on the left around 1993. Phil and Sandeye Jurus, who own Baltimore’s Jurus Gallery which carries some of Ray’s work, became like second parents to him. Ray always managed to appear right when Sandeye was cooking something. My own mother adored him and wanted to have her picture taken on his motorcycle.
About three years ago, Ray heard that his father had died. I think this liberated him somehow, because he started making jewelry again-this time in earnest. He also started a job as a machinist working with high tech metals for the defense industry. The proprietor and his boss was Sam who was also like a second father to him.
Here is some jewelry Ray made for Shari.
In August 2007, an SUV turned in front of him as he rode his motorcycle to work. Even though he was rendered a paraplegic, he and Shari were determined to get on with their lives when he got out of the hospital. Shari moved their belongings to a wheelchair friendly apartment. Friends offered to build him a wheelchair accessable jeweler’s bench. His friend Kelly planned to teach him how to use precious metal clay. But since the accident, he suffered from constant bed sores and MRSA infections. He never did leave the hospital. His body finally gave out and he died in April, 2008.
Those who truly knew Ray knew he was a complicated man who struggled with serious demons all his life. But they loved him anyway. I suppose this is what you call unconditional love.
I have some of Ray’s jewelry tools now and I will think of him whenever I use them. But most importantly, I am again reminded that for anyone who is hurting because he was denied unconditional love when he needed it most, his pain will be healed if he can find the courage to give love unconditionally.
Raoul, I have known Ray since the early 70’s. I heard many good things about you from Ray and Shari. It saddens me to hear of his passing.Ray was the “big” brother I never had. I have a knife made by him for me and I will treasure it even more. Please email me and I will give you my phone number and have Shari call me or email me. Thanks for posting this information.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ray as his birthday is approaching. I don’t know what made me decide to search today to see if I could find him. I wanted to tell him about my involvement with an organization called The Patriot Guard Riders and also to let him know I got my motorcycle license last year. I remember during our high school years his love for jewelry making and motorcycles. Honestly I was very sad that I gave him back 2 rings he had given me. Both silver, one with a pearl. I’ll never forget how beautiful they were.
I heard later that he was an expert at making knives. He was always meticulous in everything he did.
It haven’t spoken to him in 30 years.
I you contact me I may have some photos I can scan for you. Right now my photo albums are packed as I am moving out of Maryland. I should be in my new home in NC, Mid May.
THIS IS THE FIRST I HAVE HEARD OF RAYS ACCIDENT OR OF HIS PASSING. I WAS MARRIED TO RAY FOR THIRTEEN YEARS. RAY WAS VERY TALENTED BUT STRUGGLED IN THE SHADOW OF HIS FATHERS APPROVAL.
THIS IS THE SIDE OF RAY THAT I NEVER SAW. I AM GLAD THAT HE FOUND THE LOVE THAT HE NEEDED. HIS JEWELRY, KNIVES AND OTHER ART WORKS WERE ALWAY BEAUTIFUL.
Dear Monica, Shari and Ray’s Other Loved Ones & Friends, So Very Sorry for Ray’s Passing. My Prayer’s & Condolences. May God Heal Your Pain with His Love & Grace. Thank You for Posting this about Ray. This is the first I’ve heard. I was married to one of Ray’s Best Friend’s, George Wm. Maugans III. At one time, we were all very close. Ray was indeed, extremely Talented & Tormented. May he now be at Peace. with love, Deirdre McCann Maugans
Deirdre, Thanks for your kind thoughts.
THANK YOU DIEDRE. RAY, BUSTER AND GEORGE ALL DIED.
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THERE IS ANYONE WHO CAN GIVE ME INFORMATION AS TO WHERE RAY IS BURIED. HIS MOTHERS WHEREABOUTS. ETC
Monica I have been trying to find you for a few years. I found this site a year or so ago. I did not see your messages at the time. I was totally shocked to learn of Ray’s death. Also shocked to find out about George. I found an obituary for Hal,too. I would love to hear from you. I hope that you are doing well. Gerry Noland
We have no idea where his family or his mother is. His ashes were given to friends to dispose of as they saw fit.
I heard of Ray’s death at the Baltimore knife show. Ray and I were close friends as I let him use my shop to forge knives . We talked at least once a week for years. We used to meet up at Bill Morans house for New Year parties. Ray will be sorely missed. A really great guy.
BILL I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU
RAYS FRIEND, GEORGE MAUGANS III, PASSED AWAY MAY 2, 2010
I adored George and his death was heartbreaking news.