Deceased January 25, 2013
On Jan. 25, 2013, Ray Dresser, a class leader, passed away from complications of a rare abdominal melanoma cancer. He came to us from the small community of Sturgis, Mich., and participated promptly and fully in the life of the college—as drum major of the marching band, cross-country runner, basketball player and golfer. A fine student, versatile athlete and loyal classmate, Ray loved Amherst, but his heart was always in Michigan, as were his roots.
Gretchen, the love of his life, was an alumna of the University of Michigan, which became Ray’s second alma mater. He earned his law degree there, as his father had, and then joined his father’s Sturgis law firm. Ray practiced business law and estate planning throughout his life, earning respect and distinction. He served as an officer and director of the State Bar of Michigan and as chair of the Probate and Estate Planning Council. In 2006, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm bestowed upon him the prestigious Community Foundation Philanthropy Award. And the State Bar of Michigan gave him its highest award for contributions to his profession and community. Ray was further honored when his son John later joined him in the firm, continuing the family tradition.
Sixty years ago, in the card room of Amherst’s Beta House, Ray was a winner at poker, nines and booray; you couldn’t read his hand. In similar fashion, his easy amble never predicted his relentless running pace. And it took several of his wry rejoinders before one recognized the quick mind behind the slow, thoughtful response. But there was no mistaking the genuine warmth in his ready smile.
A staunch supporter of Amherst, Ray served as our class president and a ringleader at our reunions. We’ll miss him greatly.
Ray’s family was the center of his life. To Gretchen, his wife for 58 years; their children, John, Amy and Marcia ’84; and their grandchildren, the class sends its deep sympathy.
Rich Gray ’53