The artist has departed: Remembering Ray Gerring

Ray Gerring with his wife June.

I would like to tell you about my friend Ray Gerring. He was a painter who eventually went blind, a WWII veteran who served in the Air Corps, and a local author who memorialized the early 20th century Seattle he grew up in.

Ray was a slender, birdlike man. By the time I knew him, Ray’s eyesight was failing and he walked with a cane. But his blue eyes. shone with humor and mischief nonetheless.

Ray and I would often walk together after our writers group’s meetings, his hands clasped in mine as I helped support his slow, careful steps. He dressed like the gentleman he was, with a jaunty little cap perched on his head.

I remember Ray’s stories about Seattle in the 1930s and ‘40s, the Seattle he had come of age in. He wrote two short story collections (Tales From The Emerald City and Milo’s Brain) full of mayhem and murder in the Pacific Northwest. I tried to pay Ray for his books, because they entertained me so, but he refused to take a dime from me.

It was fitting that Ray was a writer because Ray was certainly a character. He will be missed by all of us in his writer’s group, EPIC Group Writers. Ray departed from this world on April 13, 2020, survived by his loving wife, June, who faithfully edited his manuscripts and drove Ray to each of our meetings.

As we continue to gather and critique each other’s work, Ray’s memory will be a blessing to us all.

— By Jenna Nand


5 Replies to “The artist has departed: Remembering Ray Gerring”

  1. He was one of my art instructors at Seattle Central Community College in the late 1970’s. I remember he well as a kind, caring and inspiring instructor. Years later I ran into him again at an exhibit at the Shoreline Center. We are always surprised to realize that our teachers are real people, with real lives that go on after we have left them. His work was wonderful and after all of those years I still found him inspiring, especially after I learned about his failing sight.


  2. We met Ray and June when, with my parents, went dancing. Ray was an arrest on the dance floor. Add June to the picture, they gracefully and elegantly flowed to the music. He taught me new moves, and taught me grace. He was a kind person who shared his love of family and life. Sidney and I will remember our social times, his wisdom, and love. He will be missed.


  3. I met Mr. Gerring around 1984. Ray Gerring was a huge inspiration to me when he approved me to enroll in the Art program (he had founded some years earlier) at Seattle Central Community College. He was a most inspiring and trusting person. He spoke of his family often, and was very proud of his wife and children. Also a gifted artist who appreciated the abilities of others. At a time in my life when I was seeking direction he made a huge difference. We had a few times for pizza and that sort of thing with a few other older students like myself, which provided great additional encouragement.


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