Ruby Wray, Jr.
June 26, 1920 - September 30, 2020 (age 100)
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Ruby grew up during the Great Depression. The first in his family to attend college, Ruby attended Harris Junior College, then the Southeast Missouri State Teachers College at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, working in the summers at AMSCO (American Manganese Steel) to pay his tuition. At college, he met a fellow student, Anna Deschu, his future wife. He graduated in 1942 with a B.S. Degree in secondary education, but, knowing that he would soon be drafted to fight in WWII, he returned to work at AMSCO until June 1943. After Ruby completing Basic Training with the Army, he and Anna were married on April 22, 1944. Ruby served in Europe and the Philippines and was discharged in March of 1946 in St Louis. He became a 7th grade teacher, but the next year accepted an offer to become a Managerial Trainee at AMSCO. Ruby was transferred to AMSCO’s Los Angeles factory; Ruby and Anna’s children Suzanne and Michael were born in California. Another transfer, this one to Denver, made him Assistant Works Manager of the AMSCO factory there. Diane, their third child, was born in Denver. Ruby became Works Manager of AMSCO in St Louis, then Vice President, Operations, in the Chicago Heights, Illinois factory. He retired from Abex (the new name for AMSCO, which had been taken over by Illinois Central Industries) in 1972. Ruby worked for the Butler Manufacturing Company in Paris, Illinois, and the Prox Company in Terre Haute, Indiana until 1979, when he was appointed a faculty member of Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois, teaching in their Business Preparation Program. As holder of the Walton Chair of Practical Business, he also served as director of the program until his retirement in 1988. He greatly enjoyed working with the students at Blackburn, attending basketball games, and serving as advisor to the yearbook for several years. In a family history, he wrote that the Blackburn “position was the culmination of a personal dream.”
Ruby and Anna established a set of annual prizes to be awarded to outstanding students at Blackburn. The Wray Business Administration Prizes awards three prizes annually to Business Administration students who have achieved the highest overall cumulative Grade Point Average, and the Anna Deschu Wray Prize in Elementary Education is awarded yearly to a graduating senior.
Ruby is survived by his wife Anna, children Suzanne, Michael, and Diane, and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruby Wray and Henrietta Willers Wray and his sister, Elizabeth Heine.
Memorial donations may be made to the Wray Business Administration Prizes of Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois.
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