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Sun, Aug. 18

Obituary: Raymond (Ray) Ver Velde

Raymond (Ray) Ver Velde

Raymond (Ray) Ver Velde

Raymond (Ray) Ver Velde, passed away Monday, March 20, 2017 in Flagstaff, Arizona at the age of 81. He was born February 2, 1936 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to Bernard and Kathryn Ver Velde. The family moved to Tucson when Ray was 10-years old due to his father’s health. There he met the love of his life, Margaret (Peggy) (Maynard).

Ray was a star basketball player for the Amphitheater High School. He served in the United States Army in Louisville, Kentucky upon graduation, where he was promoted to Master Sergeant and was a tank commander. When he completed his tour of duty, he worked for the telephone company. Soon thereafter, he enrolled at the University of Arizona, earning his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Education. He served the Sunnyside School District in Tucson for many years as a planner and principal of Los Ninos Elementary School. Ray and Peggy then moved to Colorado and worked at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley for many years.

Upon his return to Arizona, he was recruited by Dr. Eugene Hughes to be an integral part of the College of Education at Northern Arizona University. He served as Associate Dean in charge of building relationships with Arizona K-12 public schools and led the development of the first statewide program offerings from NAU. He was acknowledged by the Navajo Nation for his contributions to higher education among Navajo students. He was honored with the Chief Manuelito Award, the highest award given by the Navajo Nation to a non-native.

Upon his retirement, he was named emeritus faculty of the EDL department and College of Education. He was one of the initial inductees into the NAU College of Education Hall of Fame. He and his wife established a scholarship at NAU in 2015. Ray and Peggy traveled widely in the western United States and overseas.

At one time, he served as Head Teacher at the American School in Tehran. Ray and Peggy loved to travel in their motor home and spent quality time visiting the National Parks in the West. He dedicated his retirement to volunteering at and supporting animal rescue organizations, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. He also supported other animal rescue and humanitarian organizations. Ray is preceded in death by his parents, Bernard and Kathryn; and sisters, Bernice and Harriette.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Peggy; his sister, Annette, of Tucson; his brother, Ralph, (sister-in-law, Cathy), of Oostburg, Wisconsin; and special friends, Mary Knight, Russell Copp, Mary Kay Walton, Gary Emanuel, Greg Prater, Emilie Rodger, and Barbara Hegarty, along with countless friends and colleagues. Cremation has taken place. No services are planned at this time.

A gathering of friends may be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT, 84741 or online at Memories and condolences can be sent to

Information provided by survivors.


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