Funeral plans for former Iowa Gov. Ray announced

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Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray passed away on Sunday at the age of 89.

Ray was first elected governor of Iowa in 1969, and served in that role for 14 years.

David Oman was on Governor Ray’s Chief of Staff when he was in office and saw first hand the impact Governor Ray had on Iowa.

“Everything he did always had a forward spin on it, what can we do now that will make the state better in 20 to 40 years, well now we are 20, 30, 40 years,” said Oman. 

Even if his decisions we not popular in the public eye, Ray knew how to work with everyone.

“He understood that this state was one third “R,” one third “D,” and one third Independent. He knew no one could dictate,” Oman said.

Governor Ray opened the eyes of many, and on Governor Ray’s last day in office he left on a high note after the press hosted a party and he said goodbye.

Ray will lay in state at the Iowa Capitol building Thursday afternoon and evening. 

A brief ceremony will occur at 5 p.m. when the governor will return to the Capitol for the final time.

Iowans are encouraged to arrive at the Capitol before 4:00 p.m. as security checkpoints will be utilized. Citizens will be able to pass by Governor Ray’s casket and pay their respects between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Then, the funeral for Governor Ray will be held Friday at the First Christian Church at 25th and University in Des Moines, near Drake University where Ray also served as president. The service will begin at 1 p.m. and be live streamed. Details of the live stream will be shared in a later release.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 or at

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