Most Chicano veterans volunteered at the Post after their regular work day and on weekends. Ray's daughter, Norma, remembered her mother would have food packed and ready when Ray got home from work. "We would eat our dinner together with other families at Grant Park. That was our playground and social life for some time," Norma said, “families knew each other and children grew up together in Grant Park.
When he got back from the war, the City of Phoenix gave him a job as a bus driver. He also drove the trolley that ran from 16th Street to the Capital Building. Norma remembers, “The route went by my grandmother’s house on 14th street and Washington several times a day and he sometimes gave my cousin and me a ride to 16th street and back. The family still lived with my mother's parents because there was no housing. We moved to the Duppavilla Housing Project in 1948. We lived at 1815 E. Roosevelt. My brother, Gilbert, was born on August 18, 1948."
Ray had a community focused employment history. Before WWII, he was employed by the City of Phoenix as a sanitation driver, a pretty high position for a young Chicano man. After the war the City of Phoenix employed him as a city bus driver. Following that, he became a juvenile probation officer.
Under Governor Garvey he was appointed to the State Civil Defense Commander which was, at that time, the highest post ever held by a Chicano with the State of Arizona. After Governor Garvey’s term in office, he did, for a time, work for Dick Searles and sold real estate but returned to civil service working with kids as a counselor at a federal facility in Posten, Arizona. Finally, he then transferred to Phoenix Indian School as a counselor, retiring early after injuring his back trying to break up a fight.
For Ray and other dedicated Chicano veterans, Post 41 and the American Legion became and remained a lifelong passion. He was a gifted speaker, and his family spent many a Fourth of July in small Arizona towns where he had been invited to speak.
"Dad was always politically engaged," said Norma. "He was most proud of his work with Senator MacFarland and Governor Garvey.” Ray continued to work for the Democratic Party as a Precinct Committee man during elections. On several occasions, he lobbied in Washington D.C. for veterans on behalf of the American Legion. From 1950 to 1951, he became the Arizona State American Legion Commander and later became the American Legion's National Chairman for the Committee on Children and Families. He retained that post for the Arizona American Legion for several years until he retired.
A patriot, he received many honors and was especially proud to be among the first group of veterans honored by the Arizona Veteran's Hall of Fame.
Ray's historical papers and photos are on permanent loan with the Chicano Collection at Arizona State University. "We are very proud of all of his achievements," Norma said, "He is to this day remembered and revered by his grandchildren."
In this 5 Part Interview by Carlos Jurado, Ray chronicles growing up in Phoenix and the legacy of Post 41 in overcoming discrimination