YSU Celebrates Dr. Ray’s Life of Success, Passion

By Rachel Gobep

The lobby of Moser Hall was packed with the family, friends, colleagues and students of Ray Beiersdorfer standing shoulder to shoulder on Friday afternoon to celebrate his life of success and passion.

Beiersdorfer, also known as “Dr. Ray,” is a distinguished professor of geological and environmental sciences who suffered a major heart attack on Sept. 13. He remains hospitalized and in critical condition.

Beiersdorfer’s wife, Susie, said his ventilator tube was removed on Oct. 2, but his heart continues to beat.

“Ray does nothing conventionally,” she said.

At the celebration, Susie Beiersdorfer said she could see how her husband touched so many people in different ways.

During the celebration of his life, tears were shed, followed by laughs when stories were told. Numerous people described Beiersdorfer as passionate and unconventional.

Beiersdorfer was an environmental activist and the leader of a group pushing to ban fracking in Youngstown.

“I’ll never be able to think about drinking a glass of water without thinking of my friend,” said Chris Yambar, local artist and writer.

Martin Abraham, chemical engineering professor at YSU, said Beiersdorfer was a “passionate advocate” for what he believed in.

In honor of Beiersdorfer’s 62nd birthday on Friday, those in the YSU community are encouraged to wear a Hawaiian shirt and do five acts of kindness for people or nature as a celebration of his “kind and colorful life.”

To listen to a Spotify playlist created by his daughter Crystal that reminds some of Beiersdorfer, go to https://open.spotify.com/user/1261125554/playlist/58MEWhcCByndET0FV7x44P?si=f0U8h1g_TYqJAz102euZRA.

Read next week’s issue of The Jambar for a tribute to Dr. Ray and his impact on the community, YSU and more.

Photos by Tanner Mondok/The Jambar