Raymond C. Leatham 1945 - 2021

“Just say he was born, he lived, he died. That will be enough.” While following Ray’s wishes was something we usually did, there is too much about this man during life that needs to be shared.

Raymond C. (Ragsdale) Leatham was born November 16, 1945, at the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma, to Raymond C. Ragsdale and Jennie Mae Scott. He died January 21, 2021, at 4:03 a.m.…all numbers that add up to “7," his lucky number.

Born of Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee descent, Ray was a proud, registered member of the Mississippi Choctaw tribe. Through his uncle, Charles Scott, he was passed the Golden Eagle Feather as “the Protector, the Knowledge Seeker, the Teacher and Counselor to many, both within the Native community and without.” The feather, with its green, blue, white and red beadwork, was never far from him once granted. It signifies the man to his children and grandchildren.

Ray traveled the world in his early years, graduating from Woodstock Academy in India. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, before going on to earn a Master of Arts (with Honors) in Educational Psychology and Guidance from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. After completing his MA, Ray became a member of the first doctoral program for Indians in Psychology (INPSHYC) at USD, and was named a Ford Scholar. He was awarded his Doctorate in 1975, with Honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honors Fraternity. After completing Doctoral studies, Ray was named a GS-14 Public Health Advisor to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He oversaw the funding and operation of 175 Native alcohol and drug programs, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Although they had been in many of the same exotic places at the same time, it took both of them living in Logan for Ray and Kathleen to finally meet. Four days after that first meeting, they started their wonderful life together, and remained together for almost 48 years. Few love stories are better than theirs! They shared that story with three children, five (soon to be six) grandchildren, and countless friends and loving family members. Hawaii, Tahoe, any body of water, herds of horses, good dogs and any golf course with his sons and “Big Mark” were dear to Ray’s heart.

Ray and Kathleen decided Oregon was a better place to raise children, so they moved to Oregon from Washington, D.C. in 1980, where he accepted an assistant professorship in Medical Psychology and Psychiatry at OHSU. In 1983, Ray followed his real dream and began the life of an entrepreneur, which took him from Adolescent Chemical Dependency Treatment to Senior Care, specifically Assisted Living and Memory Care. He and Kathleen have combined efforts and talents in their efforts to create care that matters for seniors. In 1991, Dr. Leatham (or Doc Ray as his co-workers referred to him) was named Oregon’s Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved Aunt Jean Scott. Left to love, honor, tell stories by the dozen, laugh, pass on tradition and cheer for the Ducks and the Washington football team are his beloved wife and best friend, Kathleen; his children, Sara Helms, David Leatham (Stella) and R. Neil Leatham (Melisa). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Branden, Alexis and Tyler (Katie) Helms, Jackson Leatham, Calvin Leatham, and Briar Rayne Leatham, who will be born in May; his brother, William Leatham and daughter, Sienna, of Palmer, Alaska; and his uncle/father Charles Scott of Palo Alto and the entire Scott clan. Loved by Ray were his extended family and great friends. Greeting Ray in the next life are the German Shepherds and horses he treasured. Due to COVID there will not be a service, but he will be forever honored in so many ways. The family wishes to thank the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office and emergency response team, and the remarkable staff at McMinnville Regional Hospital and Salem Health CVCU for their exceptional, kind care. In this hard time, Ray would ask that you simply reach out to someone who needs you – not because of Ray, but because it is the right thing to do.

“The Warrior Spirit is strong in you. Your vision and heart are large, your love of people and family is great, and you’ve done much good.” Rest, Warrior. Rest.
To leave online condolences, visit www.macyandson.com.


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