Raymond Montgomery Waters, beloved son, brother, uncle, educator, colleague and friend, passed away due to leukemia and complications from other recent illnesses on Saturday, July 20, 2019, surrounded by friends and family. He was 57.
Born on April 28, 1962 in Inglewood and raised in Redondo Beach, Ray was interested in theater as a child and performed in community productions. He attended Bishop Montgomery HS, playing basketball and football and running track. He was a triathlete who once won a two-mile soft sand race against elite competition, and for many years taught spin classes to a devoted band of followers. He especially loved basketball, playing two years in college, and was particularly devoted to a long-time Saturday morning game with colleagues and friends from Cal State Long Beach.
Ray graduated from UCLA, taught English in Japan for two years, wrote his M.A. thesis on film adaptation of novels as exemplified by the classic western Shane, and earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa with his dissertation on Western pop culture depictions of Japan. He taught at CSULB from the early 90s until his death. His encyclopedic knowledge of film history and pop culture often astonished his colleagues, and inspired the many thousands of students who took his legendary Comic Spirit class over the decades.
Ray was a person of great generosity and energy who devoted countless hours to caring for his father and mother. Twice married, he is survived by his mother Marilyn; brothers Mike, Matt and Tim; and nieces and nephews Emma, Kyle, Thomas, Zoe, Nick and Maddy; and his beloved cat, Zizzy. He will be dearly and sorely missed.
Memorial celebration plans are pending. To honor Ray, please consider donating to Ability First/Long Beach Center: 3770 E. Willow St., Long Beach, CA 90815, https://www.abilityfirst.org/.