Good bye and thank you, Ray Dashner :-(


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I'm sorry to report the passing of one of our most dedicated and educated 1964-'65 New York World's Fair experts. Ray Dashner, a WF Legacy in his own right, passed away in Tampa on November 7th, 2012.

He was one of the earliest members of this World's Fair community, having first logged on September 10th, 2000.

Ray was 77, born October 17, 1935

Ray visited the Fair many, many times and made high quality audio recordings of almost every show, program and presentation. Ray's recordings are the only known recordings of many pavilion presentations and, without a doubt, the only comprehensive recordings of an entire World's Fair made by one single person. The recordings live on in Ray's digitized version that he titled "The Vault". http://www.nywf64.com/raydo01.html

There will be a memorial service in Tampa, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Monday, Dec. 3rd, 2012 at 10:30 AM. If any area PTU members can attend, please seek out Ray's sister, Elaine, or his son. They'll be happy to know that Ray's beloved World's Fair and equally beloved Fair friends were at his memorial.

I'd like to thank Ray personally for his most generous hospitality the two times I visited his home in Tampa. His open invitation to all PTUers to come down and learn to ride his Segway made him as happy as it made his visitors.

I don't claim to remember all the details, but Ray had an electronics store in Connecticut in his early years. He specialized in radio equipment and was involved in the development of "repeaters" that could broaden communications for businesses, police, fire departments, etc.

A gadget nut, he purchased a German made, Uher brand, reel-to-reel tape recorder and took it with him on his 25+ trips to the New York World's Fair, creating the Vault recordings for posterity.

Later, he moved to Pasadena, CA and continued in the electronics business. Upon retirement, Ray stayed incredibly active with committees and projects in community improvement.

A proud time in his life was when, as a youngster in Chicopee, Massachusetts, he was involved in the Berlin Airlift through "Operation Little Vittles." The project involved American pilots dropping candy to German children. By the end of the operation, around 25 plane crews had dropped 23 tons of chewing gum, chocolate, and other candies over various parts of Berlin. In May of 2009, Ray returned to Chicopee to be a featured speaker at a commemorative event for the philanthropic project that he had participated in as a kid.

In a fateful turn of events, after the Chicopee commemoration, a gentleman came up to Ray and handed him a bag. In it was a giant 1964 New York World's Fair flag that had flown at the Fair.

From that day on, Ray went to great lengths to see to it that the flag was flown at Flushing Meadows on the April and October days, each year, that would have been the opening and closing of the World's Fair. I'm told that Ray wished for that tradition to continue and has left the duty to our friend, Johnny Piro.

From Ray's member profile, his many interests included "

NYWF 1964 / '65, CHESS, TRAVEL, INTELLIGENT YOUNG WOMEN, SEGWAY, POLITICAL DEBATE, FINE DINING, BROADWAY STAGE SHOWS, AUDIO SYSTEMS, COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENTS AND STAYING IN TOUCH WITH MY MANY, MANY GOOD FRIENDS."

The fate of his recordings and website are yet to be determined, but for the time being, his collection will stay with his family.

If I have any of the above information wrong, please understand that this is purely from my memory of conversations I had with Ray.

I will post more information as it becomes available.

Doug

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Posted · Report post

Sad news indeed. I enjoyed visiting with Ray out here in California before he moved. He was a funny guy, some great stories. He will be missed for sure.

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RIP, Ray.

I enjoyed meeting him in California, and of course collected his "vault" recordings. He and his stories will certainly be missed.

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Posted · Report post

Wow, Doug, what sad news! I too visited Ray out here in California several times, and enjoyed the visits. It was *his* doing that connected us with other contacts out here like Albert Fisher and Trey Callaway. We are going to miss Ray.

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Posted · Report post

Very sad. I always looked forward to his posts here.

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My condolences to Mr. Dashner's family. I only met him that one time at the first "Saturday In The Park Day". He had his tape recorder and was interviewing the attendees on that rainy afternoon. When he came up to me, I told him I was born in March of 1965 and did not attend the fair. He still wanted me to say something into the mic so I did. He was a very nice guy and I play his recordings all the time. Rest In Peace Ray.

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I`ve been a member of PTU under varios guises since 2004 and have had the opportunity and pleasure of listening to some of Rays recordings from the fair.Although we never met his love for the fair and posts will sorely be missed.R.I.P Ray.

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Condolences to Ray's family and all here at PTU. A fitting tribute to fly his flag in Flushing, I was honored to be there with Stephanie and Johnny to take it down at the end of the week. He will be missed...

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Doug, your words are wonderful and offer a warm tribute to Ray. I never met him but his posts were always enlightening and enthusiastic. I offer my condolences to his friends and his family.

Jim

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I had the pleasure of meeting Ray when I moved to LA about 10 years ago. He used to keep a small place close to where I lived in Pasadena. He was a gracious host who was always ready with a few good stories that he told with a twinkle in his eye. It was a sad day when he moved to Florida, but we all knew it was time. He will surely be missed by all of us world's fair enthusiasts here on the West Coast. For me, Ray's recordings literally brought the New York World's Fair to life in a way I never could have imagined and for that I will be eternally grateful. Rest in peace my friend.

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Ray was a sweet and true gentleman and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and many friends.

I remember our shared love for LA broadcasting legend Huell Howser. Ray gave Huell a real run for his money when he played tour guide in his own Pasadena neighborhood during a great episode of CALIFORNIA'S GOLD about the original Busch Gardens. His energy and enthusiasm nearly eclipsed Huell's (no small feat for locals familiar with the long-running PBS series)-- so after learning a few days ago of Huell's retirement... and now the news of Ray's passing... this is a very sad week, indeed.

Here's a link to where you can get a copy of the episode if you're interested. It's a lot of fun-- and I'm glad that along with his wonderful VAULT recordings of the NYWF-- it's yet another way his bright spirit has been preserved for posterity.

http://www.calgold.com/calgold/Default.asp?Series=6000&Show=705

Rest in peace, Ray. The World's Fair Community may be diminished in your absence-- but will continue proudly in your name.

-Trey

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And here's another thought directed at our pal Johnny Piro... how about flying that flag of Ray's at half staff for a day in his memory?

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I'll second Trey's suggestion of a half staff honor for Ray, if Johnny can coordinate permission with the Parks Dept.

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Johnny is out of town but we texted and he is already planning some tribute with the flag, stay tuned.

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Posted · Report post

This is just sad news :(

Godspeed.

Eric

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I too met Ray at the original SIP in 2001 (?). I recently found the photo that was taken that day and had a pang of melancholy.

He sure packed alot of life into his 77 years. He was selfless and always ready to share his memories.

RIP Ray.....

-Karyn

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Where should Ray's original NYWF recordings end up? I would imagine there are a lot of tapes. I would think somebody like the NY Public Library, or the Smithsonian would be the proper home for the originals. Thoughts?

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Either of those would be a wonderful home for those tapes. Is anyone in touch with the family to suggest that?

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I've been absent from the board for a while and just saw this now. Very sad news about the passing of Ray. Thank you Doug, Trey and everyone else for your nice tributes to Ray. I never met him, but felt like I knew him in a way from his posts and also through his Vault recordings. When I first started spending money on eBay and was looking for World's Fair stuff Ray's recordings and Bill Cotter's photo CDs were some of my first (non-vintage) purchases. Didn't find my way to the board until a couple years later, but was very glad when I did. Ray was obviously a very important part of this forum. I wasn't born until four years after the Fair ended so I have no personal memories of it. It's been mainly through collecting landfill and reading stories and memories from people here that have let me feel just a bit like I experienced the Fair. Ray's recordings and Bill's photos were a big part of that virtual experience. I'm very happy to know that Ray lived such a full and interesting life. His recordings of the Fair are and will continue to be a great legacy and long-lasting tribute to a great man. Rest in peace Ray.

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Oh no! I just saw this. I feel so sad.

I met Ray a number of times. I stayed at his house in Pasadena. He gave me the greatest tours of that very interesting town. I went riding with him on his crazy whatchamacallit along the boardwalk in CA by his newer apartment - he was the showman, in his glory, saying hello to all the girls! He invited me to visit him in Florida too, but I never made it.

Here's a page that Ray made on one of my tours to Pasadena. I don't know what year it was, eight years ago or so I guess. Photos of me, but not Ray. I'm glad it's still up.

http://www.arroyoseco.org/ABhonorary.htm

Yes, Godspeed, Ray...

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Larry

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Just got the incredibly overdue news of Ray's passing. Didn't know what to expect before I met Ray for the first time at the June 2001 gathering and was captivated by his love of the fair and his devotion to preserving it for the ages. There are myriad days that I reflect wistfully upon the fair and his recordings bring me back over and over. A lovely man to whom we devotees owe much for his vision and decency. RIP, Mr. D.

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Hey, welcome back, Expo66! I'm really embarrassed that I don't recall your first name at the moment, but it's great to hear from another of the PTU old timers again! You were in radio or music or broadcasting… am I close? :rolleyes:

Doug

JAKE! Right?

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Thank you Ray

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THAT is awesome! That flag flew in my yard, the day after Ray got it. He came to my house and we opened the flag, then we went to Canobie to see the luminaires then we went up to the Segway factory. That was a good day.

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Wow, I've been away from the board longer than I thought..... just read this thread.

So very sad to hear about Ray. I never met him either, but always loved reading his posts and of course listening to his incredible recordings. How fitting to see that flag inside the pavilion.

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