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Raymond Francis Farley, 95, died at his home in Racine, Wisconsin on May 2, 2020, surrounded by family. He was born November 27, 1924, in Newark, NJ, to Mabel Blanche Kinsey and John “Jack” Augustus Farley, of Newark, New Jersey.
Ray was the middle child of seven, with two sisters and four brothers, all now deceased except his youngest sister, Helen Farley O’Connor, of Bessemer, Alabama. Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ann Miller Farley, and by his brothers John, Vincent, Robert, and Norman, as well as his sister Veronica “Ronnie” Farley Sautter.
Ray is survived by his daughter, Gwen Farley Green, son-in-law, Jason Green, of Chicago, IL, and two grandchildren, Alexander Farley Green (age 21) and Amanda Elizabeth Green (age 20). Ray is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren, on both sides of the family.
Ray grew up in Montclair, NJ, and attended Verona High School (Verona, NJ). After graduating in 1943, he immediately enlisted in the army, training in Colorado and Texas, for the prestigious 10th Mountain Division, a specialized unit of skiing and mountaineering soldiers trained to fight in harsh winter conditions. The 10th fought in Italy during WWII and were primarily stationed in and around the Appennine Mountains. While fighting in Italy, Ray earned the Bronze Star for heroism in action by navigating a minefield under cover of enemy machine-gun fire three separate times while leading his company to safety. The citation reads as follows:
5 March 1945
C I T A T I O N
RAYMOND F. FARLEY, Private First Class, Infantry, United States Army. For heroic achievement in action on 19 February 1945, near Gaggio Montano, Italy. Probing his way through a minefield covered with machine-gun fire, Private First Class FARLEY, selected routes, and led his company safely through the area. Realizing that some elements had lost contact and did not clear the minefield, he, without hesitation or instructions, plunged into danger again, making contact and leading lost elements to safety. His courage undoubtedly saved many casualties and brings much credit to himself and the United States Army. Entered the military service from Caldwell, New Jersey.
BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL HAYS
After serving in Italy, Ray returned to the United States in 1946. He applied to, and attended, Northwestern University, in Evanston IL, on the GI bill. Ray played football for NU and graduated in 1951 with a B.S. in Business. (Later, Ray also attended the Northwestern Executive Program in Business, in 1960.)
After graduation from NU, Ray began working in sales for SC Johnson, of Racine, WI. He worked for 39 years as an active SCJ employee, in various positions, including VP & Regional Director – Far East with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan (1963-1969); VP Corporate Planning (1969-1972); Executive VP – US Operations (1972-1976); Executive VP – Overseas Operations (1976-1980); President & COO (1980-1988); and President & CEO (1988-1990). Ray was the second non-Johnson-family-member to assume the role of CEO in the company’s over 100-year history. He formally retired in 1990. Since then, Ray has served for the last 30 years as a consultant to SC Johnson.
Over the years, Ray was active on many boards, for varying tenures, including: Northwestern University (Board of Trustees and Life Trustee) and the university’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management Advisory Council (Evanston, IL); William J. Wrigley & Co (Chicago, IL); Snap-On Tools Corporations (Kenosha, WI); Hartmarx Corporation (Chicago, IL); Kemper Corporation (Long Grove, IL); Johnson Heritage Bancorp (Racine, WI); Johnson Worldwide Associates (Racine, WI); and the former St. Mary’s Hospital/Medical Center (Racine, WI). In 1984, Ray was elected a Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and was chairman of its “Spirit of Enterprise Fund” capital campaign. He is also a past Chairman of the U.S. Section of the Chamber’s Canada-U.S. Relations Committee. Ray was an avid and effective fundraiser for Northwestern, Northwestern Athletics, The Prairie School, The Racine Zoo, The Racine Art Museum, Junior Achievement, and many other organizations.
Up until recently, Ray participated in his hobbies of squash, skiing, and golf.
Ray wanted us to know that he was most proud of 3 things.
First, he was very proud of his family: his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and especially his two grandchildren, both attending Cornell University, and one on the Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey team.
Second, he was very proud of his long association with S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. He always said that “SC Johnson is one of the best operated and well-run companies in the world, making business decisions which always take into consideration how they would affect its employees and the communities in which they operate.”
Third, he was very proud of being awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in action during World War II.
A private interment will take place at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Highway 32, Racine, WI. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life may be held at a later date/time.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial gifts to:
1) Cornell University Men’s Ice Hockey team, in memory of Raymond F. Farley, Grandfather of #6 Alex Farley Green, Cornell University, Office of Alumni Affairs & Development, 130 E. Seneca Street, Ste. #400, Ithaca, NY 14850.
(2) Northwestern University, Wildcat Excellence Fund, in memory of Raymond F. Farley (Class of 1951), Northwestern University Alumni Relations & Development Office, 1201 Davis Street, Evanston, IL 60201. (The Wildcat Excellence Fund provides resources that sustain the foundation of Northwestern Athletics. Contributions to the Wildcat Excellence Fund directly impact the student-athlete experience through five core areas: academic services, summer school, performance nutrition, sports medicine, and sports performance.)
Please send condolences to Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home.
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