Ray “Raybo” was born on April 8, 1930, in Seattle, to Clarence and Evelyn Fisler. He died at home, of cancer, surrounded by his family, on Whidbey Island, Feb. 8, 2016.
Ray spent his youth coming to Whidbey with his family to fish, hunt and walk the beaches. He was finally able to realize his dream of moving his wife and sons to Whidbey 38 years ago.
Ray joined the United States Navy as a young man. He worked as an instructor in airplane mechanics while stationed in Seattle and was transferred to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he was a Naval recruiter. He retired after 20 years of service to his country.
He met his wife Barbara while he was in the Navy. She had traveled from the East Coast and had taken a job at the air station. Three days later, they met, and three months later, they were married. It was love at first sight.
Ray attended Lincoln High School in Seattle and graduated from Shoreline Community College with a degree in law enforcement.
Ray went on to serve the state for over 22 years as a police officer at the University of Washington, which at that time was one of the largest police departments in the state. When Ray joined the force, the Vietnam era activism was hitting the campus. Violent crimes were spreading from the streets of Seattle onto the campus, with bombings, arson and threats becoming part of an officer’s daily reality.
In 1972, he was honored as one of the top 10 police officers in the nation in Parade Magazine and was invited to the White House to meet with President Nixon. He also toured the FBI and was asked to share his experiences with the Justice Department from the perspective of a police officer on a college campus when the police were considered the enemy at the most and highly suspect at the least.
In their letter of nomination, his superiors spoke of him being the senior member and “outstanding officer” on a newly developed team, the “Blue Blazer” patrol which would help bridge the gap between the police and students. Leading that team, he met with student leaders to address student safety and crime within the dormitories. While patrolling the dorms, he was dressed in a blue blazer and slacks, though still armed. When on patrol, protection detail, or at a Husky game, he wore his uniform. In addition, he was sometimes required to don full tactical gear to deal with student demonstrations, violence and campus unrest. After the “Blue Blazer” patrol was no longer needed, Ray returned to the position of regular patrol officer and later worked as a detective. His sensitivity, tolerance, fair-mindedness and sense of humor all contributed to not just his success as a police officer, but the way in which he approached life.
After Ray retired, he dabbled in painting, played poker, gardened and raised a variety of animals. He was a member of the local chapter of the Masons and was a longtime member of the American Legion. He seldom if ever attended meetings without his signature bowler hat.
Ray was considered quick-witted, strong-willed, a good storyteller and a loyal friend. He was a doting hands-on father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle, be it in attending games or races, coaching, teaching how to handle firearms, finding agates and catching snakes or being a fishing or hunting buddy. Ray genuinely liked people and he and his wife opened their home to many. They especially loved being surrounded by children.
Ray will be greatly missed by his wife of 65 years, Barbara; sister Cheryl Smith (Jerry); daughter Vickie Morris; sons, Richard (Jen) and Scott (Deb); son-in law Bruce Morris (Jan); grandchildren, Brandon (Brooke) Morris, Lindsay Morris (Rob), Kristin Morris, Emma and Ian Fisler; and great-grandchildren, Hudson and Harper Morris, in addition to many nieces, nephews and friends, especially “Renebo.”
Cremation was done by Whidbey Memorial. No service will be held at his request.