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aymond A. Rich was born in Los Angeles,
Calif., in 1912, the son of Arthur and
Lucy Baker Rich. Raised in Des Moines, Iowa,
he started his career at age 18 by hiring on with
a tramp freighter for a job in the engine room.
After receiving a double engineering degree
from Iowa State University, he was hired in
the midst of the Great Depression by General
Electric Co. and became its youngest national
sales manager. He was awarded the company’s
rare “E Award” for overseeing GE’s multiple
war-production plants.
He then was asked to lead the federal
Northeast District for the Council for Economic
Development. He volunteered for active duty
in World War II in the Navy and Marines,
serving in the South Pacifc and in Tokyo after
the Japanese surrender. He received numerous
decorations for his service.
After the war, he became vice president and
director of Philco Corp. and then accepted the
presidency and directorship of Avco Corp. He
went on to hold simultaneous CEO and chair-
man positions in a number of companies. The
sectors ranged from oil and gas exploration
and production to publishing, banking, and
environmental engineering. As chairman and
CEO of U.S. Filter Corp., he led the company
to play a signifcant role in its feld, increasing
its revenues twentyfold in the 1970s.
After retiring from active corporate life,
he focused on acquiring a range of real estate
properties. In addition to his primary resi-
dence in Boca Grande, Fla., and his estate in
Esopus, N.Y., he owned, at various times, cattle
Raymond A. Rich: From the Engine Room to the Board Room
ranches in Arizona and Oklahoma, corn and
soybean farms in Iowa, townhouses in New
York City, homes in Maine, a castle in the
Scottish Highlands, a 12th-century castle in
Austria, and a chateau in France. Rich was a
member of the University Club for more than
60 years and the Union Club, both in New
York City, as well as the Boca Grande Club and
Gasparilla Inn & Club in Florida.
n
Ray Rich was CEO and chair of a number of
companies including U.S. Filter Corp.
Ray Rich and his longtime companion, Claire Carlson
Ray Rich volunteered for active duty in
World War II in the Navy and Marines