Ray Karras Obituary - Nashua, New Hampshire | Davis Funeral Home, LLC


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Ray Walter
1928 - 2013
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Obituary for Ray Walter Karras

Ray W. Karras, long-time resident of Royal Crest Estates in Nashua, NH, died unexpectedly on Sunday, September 15, 2013.
He was born on May 4, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, beloved son to the late Walter and Corine (Leblanc) Karras.
He graduated Magna cum Laude from Harvard College in 1951. He served two years in the Army Of Occupation in Japan, then moved to New York where he worked as a copy-writer in the renowned advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. The years he spent in New York also included a stint as a campaigner for Adlai Stevenson’s Presidential run. Ray then went back to school at Brown University where he received a Master of Arts in Teaching. This was followed by probably the most fulfilling and eventful phase of his life: from 1969 to 1989 Ray was an influential teacher in the Lexington Public Schools in MA where his achievements included guiding the debating team to an extended run of triumphs at the state and national levels. Many of his students went on to successful careers in academia, among them Bill McKibben the environmentalist, and Richard John, an authority on the political economy of communication.
Ray’s retirement from the Lexington MA school system did not diminish his passion for intellectual pursuits, and he remained both a teacher and a scholar throughout his lifetime. In the mold of classical thinkers like Plato and Aristotle, he enjoyed debate and discussion on an extraordinary range of topics. He was one of the founding members of a cultural forum named “Therapy For The Soul” in the apartment community he lived in Nashua. In many ways he was the soul of that group, actively influencing its eclectic agenda towards intellectual vigor. He reveled in the cut-and-thrust of debates, constantly challenged participants to question their assumptions, and played a mean game of Bridge. His uncompromising stance on enforcing rigor and precision in intellectual discourse could be intimidating, but conversations with him were never boring and always informative and stimulating. His appreciation for
the written word, his sense of humor and keen enjoyment of irony is reflected in one of the stories a friend recalled: Ray showed up on his first day of nursery school carrying an adult-level book on fundamentals of accounting. The course of a lifetime in the pursuit of truth, goodness and wisdom was set.
Ray was quint-essentially the Renaissance Man, one who stubbornly refused to be seduced by today’s instant access to computerized information, instead, insisting on seeking “the truth” in original sources in libraries. He remained young at heart; his preference for the company of younger people being both an extension of his teaching role and an antidote to aging and the atrophy of the mind. He had his own language with a nickname for everything: “Hysteria”, “Wrathematics”, and “Anguish” teachers, working out at the “fit pit”, shopping at the “Market Bucket”.
Survivors include two cousins, Michael Flannigan of Denver, CO and Jennifer Flannigan of Iverness, CA as well as numerous friends.
Services: Per Ray’s request, there are no visiting hours or funeral service. The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH is in charge of arrangements.

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