Ray was born in Troy, Kansas to William Merle and Opal Dewey. He moved to Merritt Island with his family in 1936 during WWII. He was one of several teenagers who reported Army planes flying in the area to authorities concerned that German planes might threaten the U.S. military bases.
After graduating from Cocoa High School and serving in the Army, he received a degree from the University of Florida and later in life a Master's degree from Rollins College.
In 1962 he married Jeanne Marcell in St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Cocoa.
He taught science classes in Brevard schools and in his retirement spent 25 years in the North Carolina mountains. Ray greatly enjoyed golf and playing the trombone in two local bands; the Melbourne Florida Municipal band & the Brevard (North Carolina) Community Band.
Surviving family includes his wife of 59 years, Jeanne; a daughter, Sarah (Linda); a son, Chris (Peggy); grandchildren, Emily and Alex; and a brother, Billy Dewey.