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Hello, my name is Robert Ray and I am a trial attorney who has been practicing law in Colorado since 1970. To this day I am at times amazed that I am living where I live and doing what I do for a living.
I was born and raised on a farm in Napoleon Michigan, the sixth of eight children. It really wasn’t much of a farm, we milked cows by hand until we could afford a milking machine when I was a sophomore in high school. At one time during a hot summer day when we were hauling hay I told my father “I am not going to do this for a living.” My father said nothing. At another time while we were working at my uncle’s stone quarry where it was approximately 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity I looked at my father and said “I am not going to do this for a living.” My father looked at me and said “What are you going to do son?” I replied “I think it will have something to do with my brain not my brawn.”
During high school I played football, ran track, ran cross country and boxed. I graduated third in my class, (two girls who didn’t play sports beat me out), I was elected senior class president and voted by my classmates “most likely to succeed”.
When I was concluding high school one of my counselors told me that I should go on to college. I told him that I was not going to go on to college at that time, but would after I finished a stint in the Air Force. My counselor stated that if in fact I went into the Air Force I would never go on to college.
I served in the Air Force for approximately four years starting in 1959. During those four years I served as an Air Intelligence Specialist for two years, attended the Prep School at the Air Force Academy for one year and then taught boxing and wrestling at the Prep School for one year. During my time in the Air Force I took up the sports of judo and wrestling. Except for the fact that in wrestling I finished second in the nation for small colleges in 1966, I believe my athletic career to this date is pretty well stated by the phrase “jack of all trades and master of none”.Upon conclusion of my Air Force career (I did not go on to the Air Force Academy because I had had enough of the military by that time), I received a wrestling scholarship to Eastern Michigan University.
When I started my scholastic endeavors at Eastern Michigan University I had planned on being a mechanical engineer. Unfortunately, during my first year of wrestling I separated my shoulder and could not do mechanical drawing. I therefore somewhat whimsically changed my major to a double major of Math and Economics. It is my opinion to this date that the Math major was the best major I could have had to prepare me for the practice of law. Math teaches one how to go from point A to point B without any deviation. However, at that time I didn’t know what I really wanted to do for a living, I had contemplated becoming a wrestling coach upon graduation.
In my senior year of high school I was asked to participate in the senior class play. It was a murder mystery. I had asked to be the judge. However, the teacher presiding over the play stated that I would have to be the defense attorney. I enjoyed playing the part of a defense attorney immensely. During my last year of education at Eastern Michigan University I reflected back on the part I had played in that play. I then decided to go to Law School. My applications were put in somewhat tardily to the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Colorado University. Wayne State University accepted me. However, that was the year of the race riots in Detroit and I decided I did not want to participate in an educational program in Detroit. The University of Michigan accepted me but said that since my application was in so late that I would have to wait a year to start my attendance. I had not sent in my $50 application fee to CU when I sent in my application. I sent in $50 and within a week received a letter of acceptance from Dean Reed of the University of Colorado School of Law.
During Law School I normally worked full time selling vacuum sweepers, working for a retail credit company and working for the City Attorney’s Office. I must say that I found Law School to be much easier than my Math major at Eastern Michigan University. To this day I believe that one of the reasons Law School was so easy for me was because I had been given a speed reading course while attending the Air Force Academy Prep School. That speed reading course made it possible for me to read approximately 2000 words per minute with 90 percent comprehension. Since Law School is basically reading, the speed reading course greatly enhanced my ability to progress through Law School. I graduated from Law School and passed the bar without any problem.
I originally took a job with a law firm in Denver. I drove to Denver from my residence near IBM for two days. During that time I ascertained that if I were going to continue with that employment I would have to attempt to find parking every day, and pay for the same, fight traffic every day and stand in line to obtain lunch every day. I decided that was not the life for me and therefore decided that I would try to find a small town in Colorado in which to practice law. I looked on the map, found some small towns and started making inquiries about the availability to find someone with whom I could share offices. I found an advertisement for Waldo & Waldo in Greeley, Colorado, contacted Ralph Waldo and ended up sharing offices with Ralph Waldo, his dad and Clay Apple.
In approximately December of 1970 Bill Crosier, with whom I had attended Law School, approached me and indicated that he was going to go work for Bob Miller, the new District Attorney, and thought that I should apply also. I met with Bob Miller, liked him immediately and he hired me. The previous District Attorney had been a part time District Attorney. When we took office in January of 1971 we walked into an office without any furniture and with seven piles of cases. The first day we were in office I had a county court jury trial. That was the first jury trial I had ever seen. The second day we were in office I had a two day felony trial as co-counsel with Bob Miller. It was on a theft case regarding cattle in which the bank had a security interest. It was a pretty bad case from our perspective, so bad Bob Miller decided that I could handle it on my own after the first day. I served as the Assistant District Attorney for Bob Miller until July of 1975, in retrospect I believe that this is the best job I ever had. I would have stayed with the District Attorney’s office much longer. However, the commissioners at that time set our salaries. They determined that they would not pay anyone the maximum. I believe the maximum at that time was $21,000 for an assistant district attorney. They wanted to me pay me $20,700. I determined at that time that if that was their attitude, I no longer desired to work for the county.
I was offered a job by Walker Miller who later became a Federal District Court Judge. My time with Walker Miller was very educational and certainly helped me succeed in the practice of law.
Throughout my career as a lawyer, I have been blessed with first of all working with Bob Miller who I believe was the best District Attorney Weld County has had. Secondly, I have been blessed to this date with excellent associates, paralegals and secretaries. Three of my associates have been former public defenders. Contrary to the popular belief, the public defenders are in my opinion very excellent lawyers with very few exceptions. The three associates I have had who were former public defenders have turned out to be exceptional attorneys and great friends.
At this time my wife, Esy Ray, manages my office and handles the interpreting for me and Valerie Moreno and Shelli Kelly are both progressing into being excellent paralegals.
I find myself to be very fortunate to have an immediate family consisting of my wife (who manages my office and my home); and my daughter, Rebecca and her husband, Tyler together with my grandson Owen and one on the way; my daughter Jessica and her daughter Haylie; and my son Randy, his wife Marcela, his son Rylan and his daughter Keila.
What one should glean from the foregoing is that my life has not been programmed by me. It seems that things just happened and I kind of went with the flow. I consider myself to thus far have had a very blessed life. Indeed, many of my friends in the sports I now enjoy of golf, bowling and fishing have nicknamed me “Lucky”. I have indeed been very lucky by having the parents that I had and living on a farm in rural Michigan; and, having the coaches and teachers I had in high school, college and law school; and, having the opportunity to work with Bob Miller; and, having the opportunity to work with Walker Miller; and, having a wife who can run both my office and my home; and, having been able to hire very competent and loyal staff; and finally having the God given talent to practice law rather than hauling hay or digging sandstone. I am looking forward to at least another twenty years of practicing law (maybe someday I will get good at it and won’t have to practice), playing golf, bowling and fishing.
In the famous words of Paul Harvey “now you know the rest of the story”.
Robert E. Ray also known as Lucky Ray