Raymond Montgomery Waters
1962 - 2019

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/.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Gazette Newspapers from Aug. 22 to Aug. 29, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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7 Entries
I am so shocked and sad to hear about Professor Waters passing. I was a very big fan of his lessons. I took two of his classes while an undergraduate at CSULB. I hope more people post entries of their memories here. I think of him when I watch movies and now it will be with a heavy heart. He was the person who made me fall in love with the film, Mama There's a Man in Your Bed. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
Rosie Shouse
May 26, 2020
So sorry to hear of Rays passing. I was one of his Comic Spirit students way back in the 90s. He was among a handful of professors I considered the best in the world. He encouraged my writing more than anyone, ever. Made me promise I wouldnt waste it. We used to sit outside of class at break time and philosophize about anything. Great man. The world is poorer for having lost him.
Dan Clark
May 14, 2020
Dr. Ray Waters was a huge influence during my undergrad tenure at CSULB. His pedagogical style, his quirky and witty stylistics, and overall general sense of insight really shaped the person I am today. He was even helpful and made sure I was doing okay. Post-gradute wise, we would even keep in-contact via email or through his spin classes. Without Ray, I don't know how I would've navigated through my undergrad. You will truly be missed. I am so sorry.
Christopher Pigao
May 11, 2020
Rest in peace, my dear friend.
Deb Reed
January 16, 2020
Wow. Ray was an amazing professor, so supportive of me as a student, a GA, and as a creative writer. He was one of my very favorite teachers, and he really helped me navigate the kind of overwhelming university experience. As a community college teacher, for years I have been recommending him to my transferring students. What a loss to our community. I value the things I learned from his teaching of Comic Spirit--and life--immensely.
Carmen Viliesid
December 9, 2019
Ray was such a kind person and great educator at CSULB. I never had the chance to take his classes, but he taught spin classes at CSULB's rec center and was so kind, inspiring, and took the time to catch up with his students and ask how they were doing in life. I am so sad I never got to say goodbye. I hope Ray has peace now.
Karen Ruiz
November 8, 2019
Ray was an awesome person and professor. Met him my first semester at CSULB and didn't know what to expect in his class. Fast forward to four years later and he became a good friend and a person I always went to for advice for my English and Journalism classes.

He's going to be missed.
Miguel Lopez
September 25, 2019