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Otto Ray

Otto Adolph Ray was born in Fish Creek, Door County, Wisconsin, on May 31, 1895, the son of Wilhelmina (Minnie) Polzine and Fredrick G. Ray, a farmer. He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating in 1920 with a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering. Following graduation he first worked in the copper mines in and around Calumet, Michigan, then moved to Butte, Montana, where he worked as a metallurgist at the Anaconda copper mine.

In 1925 Otto moved to Salt Lake City as the sales representative for the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company, a manufacturer of mining equipment. In 1928 he married Elizabeth Ann Hill. They had two children: a son (Robert, born 1929) and a daughter (Betty Ann, born 1931). His sales territory included the mines in eastern Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. While visiting the many mines in his territory he developed a well-rounded mineral collection. Many of the mine superintendents and assayers were aware of his mineral collecting interests and would save particularly nice or rare specimens for him. In addition, he would often go underground to collect minerals. Of the many mines he had access to, he had a special interest in the Nevada copper mines as well as the mines in the Tintic and Park City, Utah, districts and the gold and silver mines of western Colorado. He also enjoyed taking field trips, particularly with his son. With the onset of the Four Corners uranium boom he had the unique opportunity to obtain specimens from the newly developing uranium mines there. As a result his collection grew steadily, as he acquired many of the rarer uranium and vanadium minerals.

Otto retired in 1963 but he continued to add to his collection by through field collecting, buying and trading. He supported his specimen purchases by selling specimens to various dealers including Wards Natural Science establishment in New York. Upon Otto's passing in 1983, his son Robert merged his collection with his own at his home in California. The two collections, once consolidated, numbered a total of more than 6,500 specimens.

Otto Ray died in Salt Lake City on March 12, 1983, at the age of 87.
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The Mineralogical Record - Otto Ray
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