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Ray Dresser, 81

January 29, 2013 by WLKM 

Raymond H. Dresser Jr., , 81, of Sturgis, died Jan. 25, 2013 at his home.

He was born Feb. 23, 1931, the only son of Raymond H. Dresser Sr. and Lola Dresser. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years Gretchen, son John R. Dresser of Sturgis (Mary), daughter Amy Dresser of Granger, Ind. (Don) and daughter Marcia Inman of Sturgis (Kurt) and six grandchildren, Sara D. Whitfield, William J. Dresser, Ella M. Inman, Gretchen L. Inman and Alexandra J. Frank. He is further survived by his sister Marilyn Callahan.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Gloria Miller.

Ray graduated valedictorian from Sturgis High School in 1949. He went to Amherst College and graduated Cum Laude in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. In 1956, he graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School. While at Michigan he was a tax research assistant for Professor L. Hart Wright, Distinguished Professor of Taxation.

Ray dedicated his life to the legal profession and his community while loving his family and his alma maters. He was a kind and giving husband and father. Over the many years the family shared wonderful experiences at Klinger Lake and on family vacations.

Ray not only loved the practice of the law, he lived it. For 56 years, countless numbers of people and businesses relied on him for legal and business advice.

The State Bar of Michigan, its Probate and Estate Planning Section and the St. Joseph County Bar Association all were served by and through Ray’s leadership. He served on the State Bar of Michigan’s Board of Commissioners and as Chairman of the Probate and Estate Planning Section.

Ray was elected a fellow to the American College of Trust and Estate Council, which is an invitation-only honor, recognizing the best of the best trust and estate planning lawyers.

In 2006, he received from the State Bar of Michigan the Roberts P. Hudson Award. This award is the highest honor from the State Bar of Michigan and given to an attorney for their contribution to the Bar and their community.

The Sturgis community also benefited from Ray giving of his time, talents and treasures. He was an active member of the Sturgis Rotary Club for over 50 years. He also served in several leadership capacities at Klinger Lake County Club throughout his life

In 1962 as President of the Sturgis Rotary Club he organized a fundraiser which raised the initial gift to create the Sturgis Area Community Foundation. From its inception to today, Ray served the Foundation in many and varied roles. He counseled many families on the benefits of giving to the Foundation during their lives and at death. In 2006, Gov. Jennifer Granholm bestowed upon Ray the prestigious Community Foundation Philanthropy Award.

He was advisor to and a board member of the Glen Oaks Community College Foundation.

Many Sturgis businesses and organizations benefited from his wise and sage counsel. The City of Sturgis through the Sturgis Improvement Association, Economic Development Corporation and the Doyle Community Center were passions of his. Ray co-chaired the committee to establish the Doyle Community Center. To the very end he focused on continued positive efforts to make Sturgis a community to live, work and prosper.

His affection ran deep for Amherst College and University of Michigan. He supported both schools on the field and off the field. Not only was he a proud graduate of both schools, he gave of his time and chaired major fundraising campaigns initiated by both Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School. When it came to each school, his greatest love was their athletic teams. The Amherst College football team was closely followed always leading up to the season ending game against Williams College. The Amherst-Williams rivalry is the longest running rivalry in collegiate athletics. While Amherst was important to him nothing compared to his great love for the University of Michigan and its men’s and women’s teams. Spending a fall Saturday afternoon at the Big House was always an experience.

The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis. His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1 at First Presbyterian Church in Sturgis, followed by a private family interment at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

His family requests that in lieu of flowers and for memorials, donations be sent to the Sturgis Area Community Foundation, 310 n. Franks Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091 or the First Presbyterian Church, 1320 S. Lakeview Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091.

His obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhome.com, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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