Bro. Walter Irving Ray, Jr.
  September 3, 1923 - April 4, 2020

Alpha Chapter, Fall 1947

On April 4, 2020, heaven called one of its stalwart warriors, Bro. Walter Irving Ray, Jr., to rest.  He followed his bride, Rosemary, who passed away just three weeks earlier on March 11 at the age of 93. 

Born on September 3, 1923 in Newburgh, NY, Bro. Walter Irving Ray, Jr. was raised in Montclair, NJ in graduating from Montclair H.S. in 1941 and entering West Virginia State College that fall.  During his second year at college, Bro. Ray was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as a private during WWII in the Army Air Corps.  After being honorably discharged in 1946, he returned to college transferring to Howard University, where he earned a B.S. degree in Zoology in 1949.  It was at Howard that Bro. Ray was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity through Alpha Chapter on May 13, 1947.

Bro. Ray’s career journey began as a Counselor with the D.C. government before working at the National Institute of Health.  He then started work at the Anheuser-Busch Co. in 1958, where he rose to the position of Manager, Washington Branch in 1971, one of the few African Americans in management.  In 1976, he was listed in the prestigious publication Who’s Who Among Black Americans for his business contribution, acumen, and achievement.  After 23 years, Bro. Ray retired from Busch in 1981.  So profound was his importance that, upon his retirement, Mayor Marion Barry, Jr. issued a proclamation declaring April 10, 1981, as Walter Irving Ray, Jr. Day in the District.  Bro. Ray then took a position at Games Production Inc. (GPI), the minority firm hired to market and distributed the initial D.C. Lottery, as Vice President of Field Operations, a position he would hold for two years. 

Bro. Ray was multifaceted as his duel second career appealed to his passion:  creative writing.  Similar to one of his mentors and instructors at Howard, Sterling Brown, Bro. Ray wrote five books of poetry on the African American experience with his first, Black Dimensions, being published in 1974.  His last book, Busy Doing Nothing, published in 2010, paid homage to his grandmother who’s response to his childhood friend’s question asking “what is Walter doing” that he couldn’t come out and play was: “He’s busy doing nothing!”

The Brothers and Alumni of Alpha Chapter paid homage to Bro. Ray by honoring him on his 70 years in Omega at the 2017 Charter Day service.

  2016 Alpha Chapter Charter Day Celebration
pictured (l-r): 3rd District Rep. Ezekiel Dennison, Jr., Bro. Robert P. Stephens (FA47-A), Bro. Walter Ray, Jr. (SP47-A), Grand Basileus Antonio Knox

2017 Alpha Chapter Charter Day Celebration
Bro. Ray celebrating 70 years in the Frat

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