Mr. Raymond J. Paske
Cadet Company: L2
Date of Birth: June 16, 1942
Date of Death: September 21, 2022
Died in: Florham Park, NJ
Interred: TBD - View or Post a Eulogy
Raymond Joseph “Ray” Paske was the middle of five athletic brothers born to Matthew and Madeline (Duch) Paske in Buffalo, NY. He was a proud, devoted graduate of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo. Ray was celebrated for his many accomplishments at St. Joe’s, including his membership in the National Honor Society, as well as his legendary athletic contributions in football, basketball, and track and field. He was later honored to be inducted into the St. Joe’s Hall of Fame, and he fulfilled his dream of establishing a scholarship fund in his parents’ memory.
Ray’s academic and athletic achievements in high school drew the attention of many of the nation’s top academic and athletic institutions. Ray chose West Point, guided by his strong sense of duty and patriotism as well as the opportunity to play football for one of the top programs in the country. Ray was a standout letter-winner in football (three) and lacrosse (two) while at West Point. He was awarded the Ringsdorf Award as the Outstanding Army Football Player following the 1963 Army-Navy Game. His West Point classmates and teammates described him as “sincere, tough, honorable, trustworthy, quietly humorous and a true gentleman.”
A serendipitous Buffalo and West Point connection of Ray’s was shared by West Point Class of 1983 graduate Joe Fitzhenry, whose father was Ray’s high school football coach. “Ray played football for my father at St Joe’s in Buffalo, back in the ’50s. Stories about him were common at our dinner table and his nickname was ‘Wham-O’ based on the hits he delivered to his opponents. He continued his football career at Army, and one of my first memories was of Ray scoring his first Army TD in my honor on my first birthday. Later in my life he was present at my first communion at the Catholic Chapel at West Point. I still remember meeting him and Ginny there that day and that he set up my first experience with a tank. Later on in life I decided to follow in his footsteps and attend West Point myself. I graduated 18 years after my childhood idol.”
Ray was deeply devoted to his USMA experience and its ideals for all of his life. He forged a lifelong brotherhood with his '64 and '65 football and lacrosse teammates, as well as class friends. Loving, supporting, celebrating, they gripped hands when needed. Next to family, there was no equal to that bond.
Upon graduation from West Point, Ray was commissioned into the Army and served with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam, 1966-67. Ray earned the Ranger Tab, and his personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, among others. Upon returning from Vietnam, Ray served as the aide to the Commandant of West Point for two years, first to General Richard Scott then to General Bernard Rogers, and was subsequently promoted to captain.
Ray married Virginia “Ginny” Woolams of Buffalo in 1968. Ray and Ginny were sweethearts from their very first meeting in 1961. They were the devoted, permanent loves of each other’s lives. Ray and Ginny were engaged in the Commandant’s house at West Point while Ray served under General Rogers. Many years after that engagement night, Ray, Ginny and their children had the wonderful experience of sharing the Christmas holiday in Mons, Belgium, where General Rogers was serving as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
Ray and Ginny were blessed with two children: Madeline, born in Texas as Ray completed his military career at Fort Hood; and Mark, born in Connecticut as Ray began his business career in New York City.
In 1970, Ray worked at Citibank in New York City and earned an MBA at Columbia University. He then transitioned to his lifelong passion in the field of international business and financial services as a senior vice president at American Express. This role brought Ray and his family to Singapore for three special years. Ray subsequently moved to Dun & Bradstreet as president of the Asia/Pacific region. The Paske family returned to the United States in 1984. Ray concluded his business career at Western Union as senior vice president of developing regions, continuing his global travels throughout the developing nations of the world. Ray was known for his exceptional ability to build high performing teams comprised of people from all over the world.
Following his retirement, Ray and Ginny pursued their shared love of international travel. It was important to Ray to include Madeline, Mark, and his four beloved grandchildren in expanding their horizons by exploring the world and seeking out unique cultural experiences together as a family.
Ray’s life was governed by his devotion to his family and friends, love of his country, and the strength of his faith. Ray was noted for his honor, integrity, strength, kindness, graciousness, and humility. For his wife, Ginny, Ray was her best friend and wonderfully caring partner, who had the most incorruptible integrity of any person she ever knew.
Ray will always be tremendously loved by his devoted wife, Ginny; his daughter, Madeline Baulig (Daniel Baulig); his son, Mark (Kate Cooney); his grandchildren: Tyler, Jack, Samantha, and Caroline; his brothers: Richard, Robert (Barbara), John (Mary Jane), and Matthew (Joan); his step-sisters, Marcia, Greta and Barbara; and his brother-in-law, Jack (Kati).
— Ginny, Madeline and Mark