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Old 09-10-2010, 06:10 AM   #1
OLD FOGEY
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Default Is Elmer Ray still alive?

A thread on the lounge about the oldest living ex-champions mentioned that Elmer Ray is still alive. His birth date is listed as 1910 by some sources, which would mean he turns 100 this year. No death date is listed.

However, I have not seen any interviews with him or articles which mentioned where he was and how he was in recent years.

An unlisted death date might not necessarily mean he is still alive. Only that he drifted into obscurity and his death never made the wire services.

Burt, Henry, anyone else:

Is Elmer Ray still alive?
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

He was recently inducted into the Florida boxing hall of fame. They were reportedly looking for any relatives that knew of his whereabouts. ????
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
burt bienstock
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

I do not know if Elmer Ray is still alive..Doubt it.
I saw Elmer Ray ko Lee Savold at Ebbet's Field in the 1940s...He could hit !
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
I do not know if Elmer Ray is still alive..Doubt it.
I saw Elmer Ray ko Lee Savold at Ebbet's Field in the 1940s...He could hit !
Wow. Since there is no film on Ray, I am all eyes and ears here. Who would you compare Ray to in 1 ) Style, and 2 ) Hitting power.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza View Post
Wow. Since there is no film on Ray, I am all eyes and ears here. Who would you compare Ray to in 1 ) Style, and 2 ) Hitting power.
Good. This should put an end to your underrating of Ray.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza View Post
Wow. Since there is no film on Ray, I am all eyes and ears here. Who would you compare Ray to in 1 ) Style, and 2 ) Hitting power.
M, it's been so long ago [mid 1940s] and he kod Lee Savolkd in rd 2, I dont have a clear picture of him..I would saay he was similar to a Ron Lyle, great power, but easy to hit...I lived 5 minutes away from Ebbets Field, where they fought, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers...
He was from Fla, where a smallish heavyweight named Tommy Gomez,was also a knockout puncher...i saw Gomez kod by Jersey Joe Walcott at MSG...
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:48 AM   #7
Jack Dempsey
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

It was me that mentioned him in that thread, Boxrec has him as being born in 1912, but I've read that that different years are mentioned as birth dates for Ray.

Surely the whereabouts and status of a boxer that old who fought during such a golden age would be known about?
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

He was hatched in 1910, so he's 100 if still alive.... But google seemingly has no clue where the hell Elmer Ray is today.... My gut feeling says he's in the ground---somewhere... Prolly been so for a while, too....

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Old 09-11-2010, 06:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzieQ49 View Post
Good. This should put an end to your underrating of Ray.
I think Ray did enough to be a top 100 ATG heavyweight. How is that under rating him? I simply do not see him as a top 40 ATG as you do.
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
M, it's been so long ago [mid 1940s] and he kod Lee Savolkd in rd 2, I dont have a clear picture of him..I would saay he was similar to a Ron Lyle, great power, but easy to hit...I lived 5 minutes away from Ebbets Field, where they fought, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers...
He was from Fla, where a smallish heavyweight named Tommy Gomez,was also a knockout puncher...i saw Gomez kod by Jersey Joe Walcott at MSG...
Thanks Burt.
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:32 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

boxer: Elmer Ray
Global ID 10337
*** male
birth date 1912-00-00
division heavyweight
stance orthodox
height 6′ 2″ / 188cm
alias Violent
nationality United States
residence Hastings, Florida, United States
birth place Federal Point, Florida, United States
won 84 (KO 63) + lost 15 (KO 7) + drawn 4 = 104
rounds boxed 569 KO% 60.58

More is to come on this seldom mentioned Federal Point hero. You can see what is avaiable at this time. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
He was a World Class National Contender. He is to be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2010. If you you know of anything on him or his family please let me know. Thanks JB.

As an editor of a website dedicated to boxing history, I am searching for information on Elmer Ray - an African American heavyweight boxer of the 1930s and 1940s who at one time was the number 1 contender for the title held by Joe Louis. Despite his prominent place in boxing circles, not much of his background is known: neither when he was born, nor what became of him after his boxing career had ended.
Recent research however has uncovered that he was born around 1912/1913 to John A. Ray and Lillie Ray who owned a potato farm in Federal Point, Fla. and that he had brothers named William, Robert and Lincoln and sisters named Louisa, Margaret, Carrie and Julia. By 1945 the household of John and Lillie Ray consisted solely of Mr. and Mrs. Ray and a 7-year old named Earnestine Ray who might have been a grandchild.
As I came across the website dedicated to Federal Point history, I was hoping you might have more information on Elmer Ray or on any relatives of his that are still alive. His relatives might also be interested to know that Mr. Ray is being inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in June of this year.
I hope you can help me out or have an idea who I should turn to with my request.
Regards
Wouter van Alst - Boxrec.com

More info on Ray. JB

Hi John
Your help is very much appreciated. Elmer Ray - who started his career as 'Bearcat Ray' - indeed became widely known as Elmer 'Violent' Ray. This 'Violent Ray' monicker may have started out as 'Violet Ray', though, as some earlier reports list him as such. Regarding his early career not much is known of him until he came to Miami in 1935. Chances are that he had previously fought on 'colored boxing programs' that generally received little attention from 'white' newspapers. It is also believed that he engaged in many 'battle royals' before coming into prominence - these were fights in which a number of black fighters were put in the ring and the last one standing was declared the winner. Well into the 30s, 'white' boxing programs in the South featured battle royals as their opening event.
Although becoming the number 1 contender for the heavyweight title, beating two future champions and at one point having a winning streak of 50 fights, Elmer Ray would never receive a title shot during his career. This may be explained by the fact that Ray peaked during a time that heavyweight champion Joe Louis was in the Army and also that it was a time in which public demand for a title fight between two black heavyweights was not very big.
At the end of his career Ray would eventually fight Joe Louis in a number of exhibition fights in Florida (fought with big gloves, where no winner was announced and the title was not on the line), but that was as close as Ray came to fighting for the heavyweight title of the world. Soon after Elmer Ray - already around 37 at this time - suffered a number of losses and quit boxing.
By the time of his retirement in 1949 Elmer Ray was no longer living in Floridia but was based in Minneapolis. He may have moved to California eventually as his former manager Tom O'Loughlin once said, but (until now) no-one in California boxing circles has found any further evidence of him coming to live there.
I noticed that the information you provided on his brothers and sisters lists earlier dates of birth than U.S. and Florida Census data indicate. As I have no background of genealogical research I don't know whether Census data in general are reliable or that they are prone to misstakes.
The discrepancy between the years of birth may be explained by the fact that official records of their births may not have existed: as to Elmer Ray's age, a May 1948 Associated Press wire reported that the day of his birth (and that of his siblings as well) had been carved in a tree by his parents on their farm. And as that tree had burnt down following a forest fire, and no other record of the date had been kept, not even Ray himself knew how old he was.
Once more, thank you very much for your help.
Wouter van Alst
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:35 AM   #12
Jack Dempsey
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Yeah I saw that piece too, FindAGrave has no record for him
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
M, it's been so long ago [mid 1940s] and he kod Lee Savolkd in rd 2, I dont have a clear picture of him..I would saay he was similar to a Ron Lyle, great power, but easy to hit...I lived 5 minutes away from Ebbets Field, where they fought, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers...
He was from Fla, where a smallish heavyweight named Tommy Gomez,was also a knockout puncher...i saw Gomez kod by Jersey Joe Walcott at MSG...

Good stuff thanks.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

Thanks everyone for the info.

A special thanks to rinsj for the informative article.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Is Elmer Ray still alive?

I find it hard to believe that a former top contender for Joe Louis's heavyweight title with 63 career knockouts and catchy nickname, who allegedly KO'd dozens of men in battle royals and wrestled alligators, could fall into total obscurity. But that's what has seemingly happened.
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