Dr. Raymond Ward Arritt

September 19, 1957November 14, 2018
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Raymond W. Arritt, 61, of Ames, passed away unexpectedly of a stroke on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. A memorial service will be held at Stevens Memorial Chapel in Ames on Tuesday, November 27 at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow at Northminster Presbyterian Church. A visitation will be held Monday, November 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Stevens Memorial Chapel.

Ray was born September 19, 1957, to Muriel Louise Smith and Raymond Ward Arritt, Sr. in Covington, Virginia. He grew up in Lynchburg and Richmond, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia, where he received his B.A. in Economics and Environmental Science in 1979 and his M.S. in Environmental Science in 1982. It was during the final semester of his undergraduate degree that he met his beloved wife Teresita Navarrete in 1979. They married within a year of their first date, on March 29, 1980.

Ray and Tere followed Ray’s career as he earned his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins in 1985 and then took his first professorship at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1988. In Kansas they had their children, Spencer (Tracy) and Kevin (Laura). The family moved to Ames, Iowa in 1993 and Ray worked at Iowa State University until the day of his death.

Ray was a consummate scientist, an avid biker, and most proudly a loving and devoted husband and father. We remember his gentle and generous demeanor, his love of music, and his thoroughly offbeat sense of humor.

He was preceded in death by his mother, and survived by his father, his wife, and his two sons and their families. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Emergency Residence Project of Ames and the Food Bank of Iowa.


  • Raymond Ward Arritt, Father
  • Muriel Louise Smith Goode, Mother
  • Teresita Navarrete Arritt, Wife
  • Children, Spencer (Tracy) and Kevin (Laura)


  • Visitation Monday, November 26, 2018
  • Memorial Service Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dr. Raymond Ward Arritt

have a memory or condolence to add?

Anjuli Bamzai

February 14, 2019

I just learned about Ray's passing away. The shocking news hasn't yet sunk in for me. Over the past decades I interacted with Ray extensively in my role as program manager at National Science Foundation, NOAA and DOE. He was a great scientist with a gentle unassuming nature. Everyone around him enjoyed his down-to-earth sense of humor. I extend my deep sympathies to Ray's family, sorry I'm so late in conveying them. May time be a healer of your loss and may the memories you have be a source of strength.

Anjuli Bamzai

Hayley Fowler

December 14, 2018

I'm at the AGU meeting in Washington DC and just heard the sad news about Ray's passing. Ray was a gentle man, always very supportive of me and my work, even though we did not see each other very often as I am based in the UK. He's written a number of citations of my behalf over the years and I will always be grateful to him for his interest in my career.

Prof Hayley J. Fowler, Newcastle University, UK

Andy Kula

November 27, 2018

I will always be in debt to Dr. Arritt for his great instruction in synoptic meteorology at KU. I'm certain that if it were not for this, I would be able to say I've had a fulfilling career in the National Weather Service. He encouraged me to present my first research paper to the AMS Severe Local Storms Conference in 1993. I'm not alone in saying he was one of the best professors to have in the science we love, sharing his wisdom, knowledge and humor. His contributions to the science are a true testament to this man. I was glad that the beginning of my career took us to central Iowa, including time in Ames, so I was able see Dr. Arritt from time to time. A quick fun story that confirmed to me he was a great father... I recall walking by his office at KU in Malott Hall to go to the weather lab. It was in the evening and his light was on. I peaked in and noticed that he was carefully wrapping Christmas presents for his family. :-)

My sincere condolences to Dr. Arritt's family and friends. Stay strong together.

Andy Kula
Madison AL

Chris Lennard (South Africa)

November 26, 2018

I only had snapshots of Ray during our 10-odd years of interaction; a workshop here, an EGU meeting there, a short visit to Iowa State. Even in these brief moments it was clear to me that Ray was remarkably intelligent. But he was also kind, gentle, patient and understanding, with all of this packaged in a wicked sense of humour that I thoroughly enjoyed. He is inspiring and I will miss talking with and learning from him. Most of all I will miss you, Ray, these meetings will not be the same without your person in attendance.

Dear Arritt family: My sincere thanks to you for sharing Ray with us through his many travels, he touched so many lives and we are richer for it. Please accept my deepest condolences, I pray you would experience God's Grace and comfort during this difficult time.

Craig Clark

November 26, 2018

Ray was my teacher, mentor, and friend. Through his life, collaborative work and guidance, he taught me how to think like a scientist, teach students with a variety of learning styles, and navigate the adventures of university life. He was quite simply the smartest person I've ever known; he would likely deny this, but I once saw him reading a journal article about Lagrangian particle models - in French. (Case closed.)

Ray was a wonderful mentor for his graduate students, in part because he saw our varying strengths as fits for various career options. I sought his advice frequently through the years, and have lost my academic north star. But as a fellow Ray alum noted, his training lives on through us. Most of all, I will miss the silly/irreverent side of Ray. He loved absurd, British humour, never losing the kid inside or forgetting the small joys in life.

I can only imagine how hard this is for family, and my heart goes out to you. I love the pictures posted here, which show so clearly how much Ray loved you all. When we talked every year or two, it was fun to share updates and I greatly enjoyed hearing about Arritt adventures! To Spencer and Kevin, I can only tell you how proud he was of you.

I'm rambling a bit, which Ray would no doubt understand coming from me.

Goodbye my friend,

David Knollhoff

November 26, 2018

Dr. Arritt served as one of my guidance professors for my masters degree plan from ISU. He was an outstanding teacher and professor, and he will be missed both at ISU and beyond. He always gave great advice and instruction, and I loved his micro-meteorology graduate course he taught at ISU. I learned a lot from him, plus he did have quite the humorous side to him. We laughed often. My prayers and thoughts to his family are lifted up to the Lord Jesus Christ.

James Correia Jr

November 26, 2018

Dear Ray-
You gave me many adventures, some wonderful advice, and were a great mentor. I learned a number of things from you about teaching and mentoring. You gave enough space for me to learn how to learn. And in so doing you guided me to a PhD. I have tried to pass on what I learned from you to my students and mentees. Always giving space for them to learn how they learn. its a slow and patient process and worth every hour. From our trials in the corn patch that was blown down by microbursts, to mixing concrete in the office (just add MORE water) to wondering how it was possible so many freshmen didn't know how to divide or dealing with enormous number of emails of Intro students, we enjoyed a lot of good laughs. I wont get to come back to ISU and make a presentation to you to show you how far Ive come, and say thank you. So Thank you here will have to do. At least now you can really turn up the music to infinite volume.

Lara Gustafson

November 26, 2018

I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss. Love and prayers for all of you as you go through this difficult time.

Chris Anderson

November 25, 2018

My favorite memory was made during the lake breeze project. Ray did a dry run at El Dorado in Kansas. Jenny Sun and Larry Mahrt were there doing boundary layer turbulence stuff. Ray was doing lake breeze fronts. I was the mule carrying and setting up the weather instruments. One evening, we all went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant. They had a karaoke machine. We were the only customers, but we all avoided it. But, the owner started singing. and singing. And each song was a 60's love song. I knew none of them.

The owner starts passing the mic toward us. No one was into it. But, finally, Ray took the mic. He did great! I didn't know he could sing, and I was impressed. I passed the mic, because I really didn't know the songs. Then, Larry Mahrt took the mic. He did well. Then, he started singing in German. Then Dutch, I think. My IQ felt very intimidated.

So, thanks to Ray, I have had the experience of hearing scientists sing 60's-love-song karaoke in English, German, and Dutch.

Debby and Scott Siddons

November 25, 2018

We will always remember Ray as a fabulous bass player; an always smiling character with a brilliant mind and personality. We had such fun at J.G. Hening Elementary, Falling Creek Jr. High School, and Meadowbrook High School. More fun was had by Scott and Ray when playing music and during DeMolay
activities. We spent many great times with Ray, Tere, Chester, and Joanne; we were three couples always ready for music, conversation and fun! We always knew he was a very special person and were blessed to have known him. Tere and family, we are so very sorry to hear Ray has chased his final storm cloud and left you to wait until another day when you will again join him. We have wonderful memories which will help keep Ray alive in our hearts. A good heart has stopped beating; a good soul has ascended to heaven. We will pray that God gives you each the strength to endure.
Our deepest sympathies, Scott and Debby


Ray without his famous beard


Ray and Tere on a road trip, after the advent of the beard


Ray with his two best girls - Muriel and Tere


With Ginger, the "practice child"


Teaching Spencer how to feed the baby


The family, complete


A happy father with two cackling boys


The family with Ginger


Blowing out birthday candles on a beautifully decorated brownie cake