Timothy Lionel Michael Ray died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and loved ones, in Fargo, North Dakota on 9 February at the age of 72.

Tim was born in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1940, and grew up in Regina, the oldest of four children of Lionel and Norah Ray. Attracted to art from a very young age, he graduated from the University of Manitoba, Canada and earned an MFA from the University of Arkansas.

He worked as an artist and educator, focusing on painting and papermaking at Moorhead State University (later MSUM) where he taught for several decades. Exploring his own vision, he traveled and studied around the U.S. and Canada, finding inspiration and collaboration. His pieces may be found in venues ranging from Winnipeg’s Millennium Library to Fargo’s Public Library, West Acres Shopping Center and the Hotel Donaldson.

Tim was a fervent outdoorsman, enjoying sailing and canoeing with friends and family. This involvement frequently found its way into his art. Tim was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, but was able to continue working and traveling, most recently to Norway.

He is survived by his beloved partner, Ann Braaten; his children, Sean Ray (Judy Reid) and Hilary Ray (Malcolm McKenzie); sisters Sheila Ray and Janet Ray; brother Brian Ray; grandchildren Evan Ray and Margaret McKenzie-Ray; and many dear friends to whom the family is very grateful for their kindness.

Tim’s life will be commemorated in a service at Peace Lutheran Church (1011 12th Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102) Mon., 18 Feb. at 2 p.m., with visitation at 1 p.m. The family encourages donations to the Timothy Ray Memorial Art Scholarship at Minnesota State University Moorhead, or the charity of your choice.

To view some of Tim's work, please visit:  https://timothyrayart.com/raytrospective-slideshow/

To view a featured article about Tim's life and upcoming show, please visit:  https://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/389699/

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  1. Vermillion SDTim had one of the most solid critical minds regarding art in the region. It was always rewarding and enjoyable to share a few beers with him and talk about art and other things. He was a terrific human being and I will miss him.

  2. Pelican Rapids MN
    I first met Tim in the 1980s while I was an art student at Moorhead State University. His passion for art and teaching inspired me then, and I have had great admiration and respect for him ever since. I still feel inspired to try to be more like him: skilled, dedicated, intelligent, funny, kind and generous.

  3. Moorhead MN
    Tim taught me handmade paper techniques in the early 90’s. Later, when he became chairman of the art department, Tim hired me as an artist in residence to assist him in the class. He was a pleasure and an encouragement to me. I was an older than average student, mostly self taught in art.
    Tim saw my desire to be counted as an artist, while other instructors there only had criticism for my progress.
    He also opened some doors for me.
    Tim was a wonderful teacher with intuitive people skills with amazing talent with his craft.
    My heart is with you today.

    Tim will be missed by all who knew and worked with him. He commanded the deep respect and admiration of the MSUM students, faculty, and administration for his leadership, his teaching skills and the remarkable strength of his art. The visual field was his playground. Thanks Tim, for some great years working together.

  5. Fargo ND
    Sorry I missed the ND
    museum of art opening and memoirs for Tim today (2/17/13).
    I did several sailing trips with Tim, Gene Johnson, Rick Stern, Dean Eggermont et al., on Windsong II out of Superior Charters by the Apostile Islands, WI
    Tim was just an excellent sailor, a true seaman. He got us to get along no matter what and we had some hard times, such as a storm I thought would leave us marooned or lost.
    I remember Tim writing down the weather forecast. Nothing left to chance. I think Tim could have done most anything, even being a world leader.

  6. Moorhead Minnesota
    Tim has been an amazing neighbor to us over the last 7 years. He was a delight to talk with and helped us learn quite a bit about the history of our homes. I will miss talking with him on his way to walk his dog. He will be truly missed. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.

  7. Missoula MontanaTimothy gave the world a new color and shape–a tremendous vision. He will be sorely missed. May all find comfort together at this time of losing him.

    Our deep sympathy at this difficult time.

    Virginia Clark Johnson and the Faculty, Staff and Students of the College of Human Development and Education, ND

  9. Moorhead MN
    Anne – My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you, and to Tim’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Tim was such a good humored and thoughtful man, that I so enjoyed working with. He not only was a great artist, professor and supervisor, but a genuinely good friend. God bless his wonderful memory.

  10. Flagstaff ArizonaTimothy Ray was one of my illustrious Art Instructors at Moorhead State College in 1971. It was the time of the Vietnam War, social unrest and MSC Student protesting on campus.

    In truth, one of the most striking memories that I have of Tim is found in his paintings. He practiced what he taught. As a student, I marveled at the sprayed and splattered textures that he would lay down with his paint. The surface of his paintings had a lively and appealing quality. Over these many years I have recalled the beauty of his work many times. Along with several of the other exceptional professors at Moorhead, Tim influenced my career. I taught Art in the Flagstaff, Arizona Public Schools for 28 years. The influence of Arnold Favella’s design lessons and Tim’s painting techniques appear in the children’s books that I write and illustrate.
    Thank you Professor Tim Ray ~S.D. http://www.sdnelson.net

  11. Petoskey MITim was an excellent teacher and a wonderful friend. We taught together, played tennis, and when he visited Michigan, sailed on Walloon.
    We treasure the two pieces of his that are hung in our home, and think of Tim often. We will miss him.

  12. Rogers MN
    Tim was a true friend and colleague. We
    played tennis together for thirty years,
    and being with him was always both a delight and an enlightening experience.
    I’ll miss him big time.

  13. Moorhead MN
    Anne, Sean, Hillary, and family: I worked with Tim in the MSUM Art & Design department for 20 years and respected his wisdom and enjoyed his sense of humor. I learned a great deal from Tim, and my wife and I considered he and Anne good friends. I will miss talking to him in my shop while he worked on his latest art creation. Our sympathies go out to all of you in this difficult time. Tim is no longer in pain but rests in the arms of the Lord. Peace be with you. Ken and Lynn Brown

  14. Fargo ND
    I am so sorry to learn of Tim’s death. He was such a kind and talented person. I’m sure that you have many good memories of your times together.
    Sincerely, Maureta Studebaker

  15. Tim & I did a performance piece together @ Pikeville that was a Major influence on my artistic Life.
    A Magical piece in a Magical PlaceTime.
    He is still with me.

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