Educator, wife of OSU president dies of cancer

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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- A long-time educator and wife of Oregon State University President Edward Ray has died. Beth Ray was 67.

Ray, of Corvallis, died Friday after a long battle with lung cancer, according to The Corvallis Gazette Times (http://bit.ly/1gKGe00 ).

Ray was a former business law professor, an academic counselor and assistant dean of academic advising at Ohio State University. She arrived at OSU in 2003 when her husband was named OSU's 14th president.

In Corvallis, the university's "first lady" was known for her volunteer work, including with the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation board, the local symphony, and as a mentor to students at Oregon State.

She also served as chair of the Women Investing in Samaritan Health giving circle, which provided more than $100,000 in support for projects to help women and children in the community, according to the university.

"During her time at Oregon State, Beth contributed in many lasting and very personal ways," said Sabah Randhawa, the OSU provost and executive vice president.

The $14 million Student Success Center was renamed the Beth Ray Center for Academic Support in January as a tribute to her lifelong commitment to students. More than 200 people paid tribute to Beth Ray at that ceremony, which she attended.

"Most of my career has involved working with students and helping them through lots of different kinds of troubles students can have," she told the crowd at that ceremony. "I've had a great life doing that and loved being out here because I've met so many people who are in love with students, just like I am."

Born Virginia Beth Phelps in 1946 in Indiana, Beth Ray received a bachelor of arts degree in English and philosophy from Rice University and attended law school at Stanford University where she met Ed Ray, then a Ph.D. student in economics. The two married less than a year later and moved to Ohio, where Beth Ray completed her law degree at Ohio State University.

She had been married to Ed Ray for 44 years, and the couple had three children and three grandchildren.

A celebration of Ray's life is tentatively scheduled for June 2 on the Oregon State University campus.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com