Raymond Arthur Dexter

December 11, 1923December 26, 2012
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This is the story of one dedicated life. It is the story of a man who was a priest, a pastor, an educator, a counselor, a scholar, a husband, a father, and a granddad. This man was wise beyond words, an accomplished musician, an extraordinary artist, a painter, a sculptor, wood and scrimshaw carver, a photographer, and a man who spoke several languages fluently. With a bachelor and masters degree in meteorology and mathematics, a doctorate in education, and an IQ of 160, this man, who was listed in Who’s Who in America, could easily have chosen a life path of riches and fame. Instead, he chose to live his life in selfless Christian service. This is his biography as recounted by his loving family: The Reverend Raymond Arthur Dexter, Ed.D December 11, 1923 – December 26, 2012 Born December 11, 1923 in Hartford, Connecticut to Lyman Arthur and Mona Vera Dexter, Ray learned dedication from parents who were honored by The Salvation Army for their 50 years service. At age 18 Ray was attending Drexel University when World War II broke out. He joined the Navy, and studied Naval Architecture at Cornel University, (this began his lifelong interest in ship modeling). He served his country during the war on a patrol craft off of the US coast. After leaving the Navy as a lieutenant he earned a bachelor of science and a masters of science degree from MIT in mathematics and meteorology. The university awarded Ray the Sigma Psi Gold Key for an outstanding contributions to Science. After graduation he taught Calculus at Trinity College in Connecticut from 1947-1949. After Trinity, Ray went to Europe working as an education officer with the US Military. He married Evelyn Grace Bearchell on November 10, 1950 and while working in Germany, his first son Charles Norman Dexter was born December 1, l952. Charlie married Marylee, and gave Ray grandchildren Kyle, (who married Sarah), and Katie. Ray transferred to Garmisch in Southern Germany for two years where he was the administrator for the military base’s school. During this time he directed the base’s orchestra and choir in the Oberammargau Easter Bach Concert. In l954 Ray received God's calling to The Salvation Army’s School for Officers’ Training (SFOT) in San Francisco. After a year, he was ordained as a Salvation Army officer and sent to his first ministry in Missoula, Montana. A year later he was sent to minister in Tacoma, Washington. In 1957 Ray’s teaching talents were tapped by SFOT and he was appointed the school’s Education Officer. During this time he continued to serve our Country in the US Army Reserve as a chaplain at the San Francisco Presidio, he was promoted from captain, to major, lieutenant colonel, and finally to the rank of full colonel. While in San Francisco Ray was blessed with his second son James Sammons Dexter on December 30, 1958. Over the next few years Ray simultaneously worked at SFOT, the Presido, and earned a doctoral degree from Stanford University. His Ed.D dissertation led to the expansion of the SFOT curriculum from a one year to a two year seminary. In l964 Ray was appointed to pastor The Salvation Army church in Spokane, Washington. There, God sent them a daughter, Laurie Francisca Dexter on October 26, 1964. Laurie later married a man also named Ray, and gave him granddaughter Ashley. After serving two years in Spokane, Ray was appointed to The Salvation Army’s Territorial Headquarters where he was promoted to the rank of Salvation Army major, and sent in 1969 to serve as the church’s Divisional Commander of the Hawaiian Islands. In 1974 the Fairbanks Alaska Council of Churches sent a plea across the country for a minister to lead the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Service Company Chaplains’ Program. Ray answered that call and was hired to lead circuit-rider chaplains across the 800 mile pipeline construction project. In 1975 Ray married Kathleen E. Dooley and his family expanded by two more children, Charles Martin and Michael Dooley, who married Shannon and gave Ray three more grandchildren Mikaela, Andrea, (who married Luke), and Sean. 1976 found Ray called to the Episcopal Church to become an ordained priest. As a priest he dedicated his next few years continuing to serve and minister to the thousands of men and women who built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, known as “the eighth wonder of the world.” Upon completion of the pipeline Ray accepted a civilian position with The Salvation Army in Anchorage, Alaska serving as the Director of what was to become the Clitheroe Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Over the next 17 years Ray built the Clitheroe Center into the largest alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation center in Alaska. At the same time, ever dedicated to the priesthood, Ray was the founding Vicar of Christ Church in South Anchorage and served as the new Church’s part time, non-stipend, priest. After retiring from the Clitheroe Center, Ray owned his own consulting business in Alaska until moving to Washington. In 1997 Ray and his wife Kathie moved to Olympia, Washington. Before entering into full retirement he served this community as the Director of The Salvation Army Social Services. He also served on the Olympia Health Commission as a volunteer advisor, a member of the Anchorage Opera Board, a volunteer at the YMCA, the President of South Cove Home Owner’s Association, and a member of the Rotary Club.

Ray had a number of other talents and hobbies: He was a skilled and passionate wooden model ship builder. Ray would extensively research the many ships he built over the course of his life. He was also a painter, clay sculptor, stain glass, and glass mosaic artist, wood carver, scrimshaw artist, photographer, and newspaper columnist. He was an excellent choir director, pianist, cornet soloist and soprano cornetist. Ray also played an outstanding guitar, string bass, recorder, and even the Indian Sitar. While English was his native language, Ray was proficient in the Spanish, German, and Russian languages. These are some of the highlights of a successful life. A story about a man who excelled in all that he did. This is also a story about a man who lived a significant life, a life that was dedicated to God through selfless service to mankind. He peacefully slept, with family at his side, as God welcomed him home to Heaven. During his last days, Ray’s family recounted many stories that attest to Ray’s dedication. If you have a memory you wish to share with the family, please add to this website, or email to Kathie at In lieu of flowers, the family invites you make an extra donation in Ray’s name to your favorite church or charity. Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV) The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.

to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.



  • Graveside Committal Friday, January 4, 2013
  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 5, 2013


  • Reception

Raymond Arthur Dexter

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FE Harrigan

February 3, 2013

Condolences to the family and friends of Raymond A. Dexter:

I write on behalf of the family of Maybelle Irene (Major) Harrigan, b 1917, d. 2001, cousin to Raymond and Niece to Mona Vera (Major) Dexter, who was sister to our grandfather, Herbert Major of West Hartford, CT. (b. Belfast Ire. c. 1888). We stumbled upon the obituary notice by chance just today and are greatly inspired by the life of this remarkable and gifted man. Our deepest sympathies to all of you on his passing.

F. Edward Harrigan III ( also on behalf of Douglas, Robert, and Roy Harrigan and on behalf of our father, Frank E. Harrigan Jr. MD (95), (also from West Hartford).

Verlie & Ted Sherwin

January 15, 2013

Dear Kathy and the Dexter Family, we remember Ray as an outstanding example of a man that was an inspiration to so many. His caring, generosity and stature will be long remembered. Our prayers are with you.

Rob Adams

January 9, 2013

Dr. Ray Dexter has been my encourager, supporter, and a friend. He leaves an awesome legacy. Kathleen and family may God's endless comfort and love be your continued strength and stay at this time. My the Holy Spirit through friends and family stand alongside you at this time. Kathy you're in my prayers. Love you in the Lord friend.

Jeanette Massman

January 6, 2013

Dear Kathy and the rest of the Dexter family:
I were saddened to hear the news of Ray's death, but are so grateful to have had the wonderful privilege of getting to know both of your from the Dr. office. You two had so much love for each other!. Kathy you took great care of him while he was sick. I know he will be missed in your heart. I will keep you in my prayers.

Ray Peacock

January 5, 2013

Dear Kathie:

Ray was one of my earliest mentors. His ideas and counsel shaped my life. His keen mind and broad views of our God were inspirational. On this day, we think and pray for you but rejoice that Ray has entered heaven. We look forward to greeting him there in the eternities. What a fabulou teacher he was. He remains close to my heart. Ray Peacock, Lt. Colonel

January 5, 2013

Dear Kathy--Ray made the world a brighter place to live. He helped me through a couple of rough spots. Remember how we laughed and laughed? I'm so sad. He would be pleased to know that Eric and Cathy are still happily married. I forget how many years ago Ray married them in Fairbanks. Love, Jill Shepherd

Beverly Nelson

January 4, 2013

Dear Kathy,
Please know that my heart feels the loss of Ray. He was my mentor so many years ago and my respect and admiration for him was boundless. So much of what he taught me remains with me today.His intellegence, compassion for all and amazing insight into how to build lasting programs that serviced those in need will be remembered by many. Hawaii so benifited from his administration. My deepest sympathy to you and the family for your loss.

January 4, 2013

Dear Kathy-It was an honor knowing Ray. I will always remember with joy when Ray would bring his epee to Tai Chi-sharing his stories of teaching at risk youth fencing in Boston.What a lovely man who has touched so many lives!It was so special for Carl and I to be married by Ray here in Olympia. He was a dear man who was greatly loved in the community! Please know that you are in our prayers-Sincerely, Susan Harris

January 4, 2013

rest in peace, beloved uncle, you accomplished all that God had in mind for you, you taught us all how to love

Joan mcneely

January 4, 2013

Dearest Kathie words are not enough
in times like these but it is joans
and myself most loving prayers and condolences it was a blessing to To have Known Ray and his sweet smile ... Robbie & Joan Mcneely Olympia Corps!