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Raymond B. Baggs ’64

April 23, 2023, in Portland.

Ray, a loving husband and father of three, died at the age of 80. Born October 27, 1942, in San Mateo, California, Ray spent some childhood years there before his family moved to Virginia, where they purchased a small farm. After high school, he crossed the country to attend Reed, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, writing his thesis “Trace Metals in Normal and Neoplastic Tissue: Neutron Activation Analysis of Subcellular Components,” advised by Prof. John Thorpe [chemistry 1958–63]. During his time at Reed, Ray worked on the reactor, drove the Mount Hood ski bus, and met his future wife, Judith. Ray and Judith married on June 3, 1962, and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. After graduation, the young couple spent a year in eastern Washington before moving to California.

Ray’s love of animals and interest in research led him to UC Davis, where he received his doctorate in veterinary medicine. After the birth of Ray and Judith’s sons, Aaron and Joshua, the family moved to Massachusetts, where Ray continued his studies at MIT for a PhD in nutritional pathology as well as a veterinary residency at Angell Animal Medical Center. Their daughter, Kassandra, joined the family in Massachusetts. After several moves, they ended up in Rochester, where Ray spent 30 years teaching and consulting as a veterinary pathologist at the University of Rochester; he retired when Judith took a new position in Portland and found a post-retirement role at Oregon State University as attending veterinarian.

Ray had a lifelong love of teaching, learning, and the outdoors. He enjoyed fishing, tending to his bountiful vegetable and dahlia gardens, and he was an excellent chef. His breads and sourdough waffles were particularly loved. Ray became an accomplished woodworker, crafting everything from beds to bookshelves, tables, desks, and a breakfast nook, traveling the country to find just the right wood for his projects. He drove across the U.S. many times, traveling by car, truck, RV, and motorcycle. He loved music, from Miles Davis and the Rolling Stones to classical, and he collected a variety of obscure recordings to listen to while exercising. Ray was an exceptional storyteller, especially delighting his grandchildren. His children remember him as a man of great wisdom who loved and cared for his family.

Ray was preceded in death by his brother, Jerry; his father, Chester; and his mother, Evelyn. He is survived by his wife, Judith; his children, Aaron, Joshua, and Kassandra; and his grandchildren, Myles, Zachary, and Allison.

Appeared in Reed magazine: Fall 2023

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