In Memoriam

Raymond Dana Kreth ’84

Raymond Dana Kreth ’84, October 18, 2012, in Monroe, Oregon, from aggressive head and neck cancer. Ray was my best friend from my four years at Reed,” says Bill Kallman ’83. “He was a brilliant, amazing, talented guy, always ready to help you out.” Sheila Quinlan ’83 writes: “Ray was always an exuberant presence in my years at Reed. He was filled with energy and ideas, but what I remember most about him was his immense warmth and that he was always inviting everyone to his house for dinner. His housemates were Gary Hollingsworth ’84, Eric Walla ’83, and John Shannon ’85. Ray introduced me to John and played matchmaker and it seemed to take since we have been married these 25 years.” Ray earned a BA at Reed in physics, and after completing an MS from the University of Oregon in physics, accepted a position at Oregon State University—his first and only job—as an instrumentation engineer for the Ocean Mixing Group in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. He was highly regarded by his colleagues as “a resourceful engineer who saved many a seagoing experiment.” Ray’s work involved measuring the currents and physics of the oceans, says Bill. “He was lucky in his career. He started his oceanography job at OSU, loved it, and became a world expert, traveling the world dropping sensitive custom instruments into the deep, measuring the flows, and retrieving the data.” OSU colleagues stated that regardless of conditions, Ray could be counted on to rise to a challenge—providing technical expertise or simply lending a helping hand. “He was our friend. His talents and character will be missed.” Ray could build or repair just about anything. He and his wife, Mylrea Estell, raised Shetland sheep on their farm, and Ray planted pinot gris stock from the Alsace region—as had his father—for his Lush Vineyards. Because he loved music, Ray began the tradition of “Ray-Orama” music concerts at his family’s vineyard. A friend held a final vineyard “Ray-Orama” concert in his honor. “It was vintage Ray, a way to go out in style, celebrating life,” says Bill. “Ray told Mylrea that his first assignment when studying physics at Reed was to describe the physical properties of the Road Runner cartoon world. The most memorable attribute of that world was that gravity didn’t work until you realized you were standing on air. When you looked down, you dropped. Ray showed amazing strength in his battle against cancer. Day after day he picked himself up and went to work in his laboratory. Ray’s doctor told him that his illness was terminal, and that he could expect to die by Christmas. Ray looked down. From the time he came to understand that he was standing on air, he began to slip away. That’s physics. He was gone in a week. Ray will be missed.” Survivors include Mylrea, son Quintin, and daughter Veda Rose.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2013

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