Life Story / Obituary


In Loving Memory of Ray Danders

Ray Danders, born on May 9, 1944 in Grand Rapids, MI to Joseph and Naoma Danders and left this world on July 26, 2023. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend who touched the lives of many with his passion for nature and the great outdoors. Ray's journey through life was filled with love, entrepreneurship, adventure, and a deep appreciation for the natural world.

Ray served in the US Army and was stationed in Germany in the mid 1960's. He went to Western Michigan University and received a Bachelor's degree in Accounting.

From a young age, Ray found solace and joy in the beauty of nature. He loved fishing, spending countless hours on rivers and lakes, cherishing the tranquility of those moments. His love for the outdoors extended to his fascination with birds and wildlife, and he was always eager to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

A perfect day for Ray would be floating down the river, fishing with his kids, grandkids, friends or on his own, and returning home to cook bluegills, zucchini, corn, salad and cook the potatoes directly in the fire. The group would eat outside with a view of the river, watching the eagles, owls, deer, and other nature that surrounded them.

As an entrepreneur, Ray ventured into the business world, creating the Energy Store in Lansing in the 1977, which later evolved into the Energy Conservation Center, where he contributed to promoting energy conservation until his retirement in the 2010s. He helped save an immeasurable amount of natural resources through his work.

Family was at the heart of Ray's life. He was blessed with two children with Linda, a son named Chris married to Liz. Chris had four children—Jacob, Desarae, William, and Jonah—whom Ray adored dearly. Ray's daughter, Jaimie, married Wayne, and they welcomed their daughter Haiden into the family. Ray's love for the outdoors was shared with his grandchildren, whom he joyfully taught to fish and appreciate the beauty of wildflowers, animals, and birds.

In a second chapter of his life, Ray found love again with Laurie. He and Laurie enjoyed the last 28 years of his life together. Laurie had two daughters, Kym and LeAnne (Gary) and their families extended to include Jeremie, Hannah, Bryce, Jessyca, Haylee, and Michael who Ray lovingly considered his own grandchildren as well. Together, they built a life and moved to Irons, MI surrounded by love and nature. There he was closer to his favorite rivers: the Pine River, Little Manistee River, Big Manistee River, Pere Marquette River where he fished most of his life. Ray was a tireless advocate for water conservation and put a lot of energy into preserving, improving and cleaning up Northern Michigan's rivers.

Ray's warm smile and profound love for his family and nature will forever be cherished by all who had the privilege to know him. He lived his life the way he wanted to and felt most at peace when he was in nature. Some words others may use to describe Ray would be intelligent, passionate, stubborn, charismatic, and unique. He was one of a kind.

He leaves behind a legacy of stewardship for the environment and a passion for the wonders of the natural world.

May he rest in peace, forever surrounded by the beauty he so dearly loved. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

Charitable donations in Ray's honor could be made to the Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council link at: http://www.lmwcc.org/