Raymond Lawrence Roby was born December 7, 1922 in Aberdeen, SD to Raymond J. and Marie (Clemens) Roby. His family lived in Hecla, SD and later moved to Watertown, SD. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1941. He went to California and worked at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He served in the US Army Air Force from 1943 until 1946. During his time in the service he attended the University of Maryland and Northern Carolina State College. While stationed in Texas he met Esther Jean Echols and they were married May 4, 1946 in Rapid City. In 1949, he graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked with two mechanical contracting firms until 1954 when he started his own engineering firm, Ray L. Roby Consulting Engineer, in Mitchell. Ray and his associates, now known as Roby, Quintal and Everson, designed mechanical systems in more than 2,500 buildings, including many schools, colleges, hospitals, churches and various industrial buildings in the region. On December 17, 1977, he married Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Buche Boehnen in Sioux Falls, SD. Ray retired in 2000.
He was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the SD Pilots Association and a lifetime member of the American Legion. He served on the Mitchell City Council 1959-1961, was past president and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.
Ray was often a mentor encouraging individuals in the engineering field. He enjoyed his many years of work but in later years he had the opportunity to travel extensively and develop many hobbies like sailing, woodworking and his tree lot. In 1991 he received the Davison County Tree Conservation Clean Tree award for his tree lot.
He is survived by three children: Michele Bittner and husband, George of Mitchell, SD, John Roby and wife, Elaine of South St. Paul, MN, Julia Roby Cuban and husband, Michael of Coronado, CA; three grandchildren: Brett Bittner and wife, Kristen of Sioux Falls, SD, David Cuban of Berkley, CA, Andrew Cuban of Santa Rosa, CA; one brother, Joseph Roby and wife, “Lou” of Watertown, SD; three step-children: David Boehnen and wife, Shari of St. Paul, MN, Vikki Lansing Copley and husband, Patrick of Sioux Falls, SD, and Daniel Boehnen and wife, Jennifer of Chicago, IL; seven step-grandchildren: Lesley Casillas and husband, Julio of Lone Tree, CO, Michelle Negri and husband, Cristiano of New Port Beach, CA, Heather Meeker and husband, Dave of Chicago, IL, John Bieberdorf of Mason City IA, Nina Theiss and husband, Randy, of Charlotte, NC, Christopher Boehnen and wife, Kristine of Washington, DC and Lindz Boehnen of Mitchell, SD and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean in 1973; his wife, Betty in 2013; three sisters: Inez Dugan, Bernadette Miller and Harriet Miller; four brothers: Richard “Dick” Roby, Claire “Buzz” Roby, William “Bill” Roby, and Thomas Roby and an infant granddaughter, Bridget Bittner.
Memorials may be directed to the Mitchell Foundation for Catholic Education or the Mitchell Area Historical Society.