The village of Riverside honored longtime resident Richard Ray, who has been a mainstay on village advisory commissions since 1974, at the Oct. 15 meeting of the village board.
Ray is stepping down as a member of the Riverside Preservation Commission, on which he’s served since its inception in 1992. He served as the commission’s chairman, vice chairman and recording secretary during those years and contributed not only his expertise as an architect but his vast institutional knowledge of Riverside and its history.
“Richard has been a fixture in Riverside government and the commissions for almost 50 years, and he’s mentored countless people, including me, when I was on the Preservation Commission,” said Village President Ben Sells after reading a proclamation honoring Ray’s decades of service to the village on Oct. 15. “We will all miss his intelligence and character.”
Ray was not able to make it to the Oct. 15 meeting, but Preservation Commission Chairman Charles Pipal accepted a framed copy of the proclamation on his behalf. Pipal and Ray have served alongside each other on the commission for two decades.
“Richard served as the curator of institutional memory for the commission,” Pipal told the Landmark. “As many commissioners came and left, he was there to remind us of the importance of continuity.”
Ray and his late wife, Juanita, moved to Riverside in 1973 and joined the Riverside Plan Commission the following year, serving there until 1999. He also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1994-2000, and added a third commission to his plate in 1992 when the Preservation Commission was founded.
In 2008, the Riverside Township Lions Club presented Ray with their highest honor, the Bill Jansky Distinguished Citizen Award. Richard and Juanita Ray, the village’s proclamation notes, “were instrumental in providing designation certificates to owners of landmarked properties, and assisted in the development of a published brochure of Riverside’s first landmarked structures.”
According to Pipal, the Rays not only helped produce the brochure but “personally printed out designation certificates for owners of landmark properties.”
At the time the Lions club recognized Ray, he said he got involved because he “wanted to help where I had expertise.”
Pipal placed Ray alongside others who built the foundation for the Preservation Commission — Ted Smith, Dick Tryba and Nancy Foley – saying, “Richard shares the same devotion to this special place as they did, and I wish him well in his retirement.”