West Michigan local Ray David, 75, believes adventures are a key ingredient to living a fulfilled life. While attending college, Ray met the two loves of his life, science, and his now wife, Ruthanne. Biology, chemistry, and physics became his passion, but he always remembered his time with Ruthanne in college. They didn’t realize it would be 30 years later that love brought them back together again.
Spending decades with nature as a biologist and chemist, Ray dedicated his career to the environment with air, water, and soil testing. “While I spent many days in laboratories, a passionate hobby developed in physics. It’s fascinating to me to learn how time and space are linked.” Ray said.
Ruthanne dedicated her career to teaching all over the world. She taught math on Native American Reservations in Arizona, for four years in Kenya, and even ventured to Russia to teach Ethics.
By the mid-’90s, Ray had built a family he adored but found himself divorced and still daydreaming of his college days with Ruthanne. “I knew that if we contacted each other, we would end up getting married,” Ruthanne said. “I always had Ray in the back of my mind, and the others didn’t measure up.” It took 30 years later to reunite, but Ruthanne and Ray picked up right where they left off, in love. “We’ve had a blast for the past 25 years being married.” She lovingly said.
Their most cherished adventures together have been traveling and caring for one another. Upon Ray’s recent Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis, he desires to explore more than ever. “I’ve surpassed the months I’ve been told I have left. They say only 1% of patients at my stage can live up to 10 more years; I will be the 1%.” Ray said, smiling at Ruthanne with strength in his eyes. “My diagnosis is part of me living, not me dying, which is why I want to do a lot still. I recently went skydiving for my 75th birthday! It was a rush. I have more on my list that I want to do: whitewater rafting, road tripping out west, swimming in Arrowhead Lake, bungee jumping, tasting lobster in Maine, and spending time on Mackinaw Island with Ruthanne.”
Apart from adventuring, Ray also wants to spread hope to others facing a difficult diagnosis, “You must have a fighting, mad, angry attitude accompanied by a positive attitude. I don’t dwell on it. I have to joke about it, free to talk about it, ask questions that are silly or serious.” He said. “The staff here (CHCWM) is wonderful. They know what they are doing. They go out of their way to make me feel comfortable.”
Ray stays busy with three children, four stepchildren, and eleven grandkids. Football and physics are still his favorite hobbies, but he says nothing brings him more joy than his wife, Ruthanne.
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