NO. 17829 • 19 March 1926 – 08 September 2009
Died in Highland Ranch, CO
Cremated. Interred in Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO
Raymond Ney Barry was born on 19 Mar 1926 in the small town of Hollis, OK. He grew up there with his two sisters and a younger brother. His father was a respected attorney, and his mother was an influential school teacher. At Hollis High School, Ray established an outstanding record both in the classroom and on the athletic field. He was president of his class, an honor student and a gifted athlete. In 1943 he was selected to the Oklahoma High School All-State football team as a pass-catching end. The following year, 1944, he also was named to the All-State basketball squad. Several universities offered athletic scholarships, but with World War II still underway, Ray enlisted in the Navy. While undergoing boot-camp he received a congressional appointment to West Point. Offered a choice of Annapolis or West Point, Ray astonished his naval superiors by choosing West Point. He was transferred to the Army and sent to the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at Cornell University. Ray entered West Point in 1946 and readily adjusted to cadet life but took a carefree approach to academics. Only in athletic proficiency did he stand near the top of his class. Years later he said, “As my roommates will attest, I studied almost not at all. And I regret that because, had I put forth a better effort in academics, I would have gained a lot more intellectually than I did during those years. But I was not very disciplined back then, even in that environment noted for its discipline.” Later in his career, Ray redeemed himself by earning, with honors, a Master of Science degree and two Master of Arts degrees. After graduating with his West Point Class in 1950, Ray reported to Ft. Benning, GA, for airborne training. While there he met Marjorie Burgess, and the following year, in April of 1951, they were married. Ray’s first troop duty came with the 82nd Airborne Division, and he made 20 parachute jumps with that division.
Ray saw combat in the Korean War with the 7th Infantry Division. During heavy fighting near Chorwon, Korea, he was awarded the Silver Star for bravery under fire. On that battlefield he was so severely wounded by enemy shellfire that initially he was not expected to live. Hospitalized for an extended period, he underwent numerous operations, gradually recovered, and eventually returned to active duty. One of Ray’s doctors suggested that he take up golf to benefit from sustained walking. Ray did, and he became a skillful recreational golfer, good enough to win a number of club championships through the years.
The 3rd of August 1954 was a special date for Ray and Marge, because it marked the birth of their only daughter, Paula, who later gave them two beloved grandsons.
Ray's mid-career progressed through completion of service schools, graduate civil schooling, and the assumption of increasing responsibilities in various command and staff positions, both stateside and overseas. After graduating from the Army War College in 1968, he was assigned to the Army Intelligence Staff at the Pentagon and during that tour of duty was promoted to colonel. During the Vietnam War, Ray served in Saigon as an adviser to the South Vietnamese joint general staff. In 1972, Ray proceeded directly from Vietnam to Belgium for a three-year assignment on the combined general staff at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe. Returning to the states in 1975, he assumed new duties at Readiness Region VIII in Denver, CO, first as region executive officer, later as region deputy commander, then as region commander. Ray’s extended tour of duty at Region VIII turned out to be his final military assignment. He retired in 1980, completing thirty years of service. In the years that followed, Ray and Marge settled down to an unhurried, but still active life-of-retirement at their home in Englewood, CO.
In addition to the Silver Star and Purple Heart, Ray’s awards and decorations include three Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and two foreign decorations awarded to him by the government of South Vietnam: the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Vietnamese Honor Medal.