Raymond T. ‘Ray’ Martin grew up in Palos Verdes, California, the son of Raymond F. and Martha Martin. He built his first telescope at the age of 11 and built his first dome, by hand, learning compound curves from his Dad. He attended El Camino Community College and learned everything he wanted to know about designing and building the things that fascinated him.
Ray had an amazing work history. He worked at North American/Rockwell and Hughes Aircraft where he spent his time working on the command modules for the Saturn V project. Later, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, and continued his work at Ball Aerospace Systems working on the Star Tracker system for the space shuttles. He also owned and operated Martin’s Startracker, a telescope store in Boulder. He had many stories about working at McGuckin’s Hardware Store as well. He made many friends along the way.
After the Startracker store closed, Ray went to Arizona for Motorcycle Maintenance School (MMI) and Harley Davidson School. Motorcycles were as much a passion to him as astronomy. Upon completing his time at MMI and HD Schools, he moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and worked for Maverick Motorcycles until, as chief wrench, he was hit while on a customer’s motorcycle and sustained life-altering injuries. Ray was no longer able to work on motorcycles and went back to school, finding a niche in the University of Wyoming Physics and Astronomy Department’s Space Grant Consortium where he ran the Planetarium and was the observatory engineer for the Red Buttes Observatory until 2004.
Ray transitioned to the private sector when grant funding declined and worked at Welldog (aka Gas Sensing Technologies) for the rest of his life. Welldog has been our family for many years. We are so grateful for their consideration and support.
He was known by many as “the cool telescope guy” at the Art Museum as he would set up Dr. Thom Edgar’s 4” Unitron telescope on Solstice Day every summer as an opportunity for outreach. He absolutely loved teaching and outreach and continued even after he no longer worked at UW.
Ray is survived by his wife Georgia, children Holly Crissinger and Thad (Beki) Martin. Grandchildren Michael (Kassay) Crissinger, Tyler Crissinger, Elijah Crissinger, and Fox Martin. Step children, Robert, John, and Matthew Coe and great grandson Aden Crissinger.
A memorial will be scheduled later in the Spring.
The family and friends of Ray Martin would like to thank the staff of IMH and the Meredeth & Jeanne Ray Cancer Center for their professionalism and compassion during our very difficult time. Special thanks to Dr. Ullrich, who went above and beyond in his care of our loved one.