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Use this thread to share your memories of Ray Asbery who passed away Tuesday, September 27, 2011.
You can't think of the Auto Glass Industry without thinking of Equalizer the Company that Ray built. My impression of Ray has always been he was solid in his word and deed. When he spoke I listened closely to what he had to say and respected what he said becasue I knew he meant every word. The world could use for people like Ray.
Ray got around. Everybody in the industry knew Ray. He was a true entrepreneur to the benefit of our industry. Yet he was humble and shared his time graciously. He always had a story to share and had an amazing ability to spot the next big challenge and turn it into an opportunity. I'll miss you Ray.
I met Ray over 20 years ago and he was one of the most likable persons you you would ever meet. Ray DID transform our industry. No telling how many Techs owe their shoulders and backs to the tools that he brought to our industry.
My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends. Ray will be missed.
I owe a lot to Ray. He was always available any time I needed advice or support. I have to say Ray helped our industry reach the level we are at today. I am proud to have known Ray and will always remember all he did for me. He will be missed.
Eric and Ray approached me about coming to work for them. So, my wife Connie and I flew to Texas to check things out. The end of the tour of Austin and Round Rock ended at the Equalizer company office. It was late afternoon when we went in. Ray was very gracious in showing us around the operation. Shortly after arriving the phone rang. Ray was very vague in the conversation but hung up and said we should walk to the front of the building.
Seems the alarm was set off when we arrived and when Ray went to disarm it he mistakenly sent a "hostage" alert to the police.
Connie and I were drawn down on by Round Rock's finest as we tried to exit!
We had good times in Texas when at Equalizer, have known Ray for years, he was and always will be a mentor and I will miss him very much.
Ray is one of those people that truly cared about people and their concerns. He shared even when it cost him money and time. He was always willing to help and contribute to the cause. He only used his influence for good. He cared deeply for the industry that was lucky to have him. He was and is an old soul. We as an industry will miss him and I as a friend will miss him. Rest in peace Ray, you deserve it.
I never met the man but have been an Equalizer customer from the first time I heard of a company that made/sold removal tools.
I think the best thing said on this thread was that Ray was a man of vision. He recognized that the AGR industry was low tech and brought us into the 21st Century with the tools he developed and encouraged to be brought to market,
Many of us older guys are still practicing our craft thanks to the tools his company made available to our profession. The newer pups will be spared much of the physical abuse that many of us endured in removals.
In all of my dealings with Equalizer, they have been fair and honest. Ray's effect and personality stamp on the company was apparent. He will be missed.
I have never met a man like Ray Asbery. He was like a father to me as he was to so many. He set standards that you wanted to follow. I never realized the magnitude of which he changed the Auto Glass Industry until I had the pleasure of traveling with Ray to my first Tradeshow in Minneapolis, MN. Some random Auto Glass Technician shouted in the hall before we went to man our booth, " That's Ray Asbery!". This technician was star-struck and built up the courage to come ask this legend for his autograph on our 2005 Equalizer Catalog. I was inspired! He cared about people the way most people don't, and always had a story to share with you. I was lucky enough to become part of his family and get to know this kind and generous man. He will be missed by tremendously.
Ray was a very caring man and a great business man. Always offered advice and suggestions and when he liked a product he let you know it. It is hard to believe. When you think of Ray you think of all he has done for the industry and of course where ever Ray was Gilbert was right there with him. He will truley be missed by all and are sympathy goes out to the family, Equalizer employees and Gilbert. We will all miss Ray.
In all the years I knew Ray I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. He was among the most honest, fair-minded individuals I ever met. Whenever an initiative was proposed at NGA to benefit the auto glass industry, we could always count on Ray's involvement and support. We will miss you, Ray. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eric and the rest of Ray's family and staff.
I am deeply saddened by Ray’s passing and my heart goes out to his family.
The first time I met Ray, I was a technical trainer for a large chain of glass shops in New England. I was attending the Boston Glass Show and my company had recently tried one of the early lightweight versions of the Equalizer Cutout Tool with less than favorable results. At the time Ray was selling his tools through catalogs like CRL, Somaca and Colonial. He would spend a few hours in the booth for each of these companies at trade shows. Colonial’s trademark was the Revolutionary War Minuteman with the signature three corner hat. When I started to talk to Ray I was surprised to find he was the inventor of the tool. I told him of my companies experience with the tool and mentioned that we liked the tool but it just wasn’t durable enough. He was genuinely interested in all the observations about his tool and wanted to take a walk to discuss it. We walked for a while before he realized he was still wearing the hat. He took off his three corner hat and as we walked and talked and he told me he had a heavier version of the tool but being new none of the catalog companies wanted to carry it. I told him my company would be interested and before you know it we had cut a tentative deal on the show floor for the first 50 Magnum Equalizers and lifetime distributorship for my company. Years later at an Auto Glass Conference in Florida, we laughed about that day and how he looked in the hat.
Ray was a true gentleman with a creative mind and the ability to take what technicians told him and turn those thoughts into new innovative tools or make improvements to existing tools. His company made a difficult job safer and easier. For that we should all be grateful.
I always enjoyed our discussions from tools to science fiction books. He will be missed.
I didn't know him all that well, really only met him a hand full of times at the Glass Shows... but what I came across was a great mind, great listener, great family man, heck of a business man and even better of a person. You will be missed Ray!!! Thanks for all you have done for the industry!!!
What can I say that has not already been said about Ray in all the previous tributes. I will always remember the fun times we had at shows and trying to come up with new ways to promote products together when I was with PPG. But most of all I will cherish his openness, caring and freindship we shared for 20 plus years. He indeed was a unique person and I am honored to be able to have called him my friend. My thoughts are with his family and all the Equalizer family as he will be deeply missed. Always remember his smile and the pat on the back he would give you when he talked with you. I will miss sitting with him and talking about all the good old times we shared. God Bless - Bob & Vikki
My wife and I first visited Ray in Austin Texas in April 1990, and met up many more times in USA and around the world to recently.
Of course we were passionate innovators but opposing manufactures of Autoglass tools. Ironically, we are reciprocal distributers of each other’s product and have maintained an excellent relationship and respect, always enhanced by Ray’s “special” gentleman mannerism, friendliness and professional qualities. We will all miss Ray.
Myself, Marie, Craig and Kylie with Adam and the BTB Team, are deeply saddened with Ray’s passing and our hearts go out to Ray’s family, Eric, Gilbert and all at Equalizer.
Uncle Ray was a huge influence in my husband's life. He gave so much to other people and to his family without thinking of himself. He will be deeply missed. His kindness live on in his family and his legacy will remain, but that is nothing like holding the real man, who was so much more than words can ever say. We love you, Uncle Ray!
I had the pleasure of working for Ray at Equalizer Industries from 1996 to 2011. He was the best boss I have ever worked for, his door was always open and he was always so fair and kind to all the staff. I always had the utmost respect from him as a businessman and a truly great human being. I can't believe I will never see him again, this is very sad news indeed - my thoughts are with Claire, Eric, Wendy and their families, and of course the Equalizer family, of which I was very lucky to have been a part of. He will be missed very much. This will take a while to sink in - very sad.
I worked for Ray and Equalizer for almost 14 yrs. He was such an incredible person. He seemed to have a story for almost any occasion. He did so much for so many. He taught me a lot and gave me some great opportunities. It's hard to find the words to say what our friendship meant to me. To say he will be missed is an understatement. My condolences go out to Claire,Eric,Wendy and their families.
Ray touched the lives of so many people, even people who never met him. When my friend Gilbert called me with the news of his death, I was shocked and I still am. I had to tell someone and I sent a text message to my daughter Amanda. Amanda never answers my text messages. I don't think it is a cool thing to answer your Dad. At least not on an electronic devise. Within the next 30 seconds I received an answer. " I will say a prayer for him. I remember you always were talking about him. Send my condolences to the family. Now he does not have to suffer any more." This is proof how Ray effected so many lives in a positive way. Again even people who never met him. After the funeral services and interment, there was a celebration of Ray's life at the Equalizer headquarters. It was very clear to everyone who was there, that in a typical Ray manner, everything was perfect. Ray surrounded himself with the best in the industry. Under Eric's guidance with all the great people there, Equalizer will keep flourishing. Rest assured, that from above, Ray will be smiling upon all of you.
To all of you who were kind enough to submit your thoughts and reflections of my Dad here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. My family and all at Equalizer are deeply saddened by his absence.
Because of good people in this industry like you, Equalizer will succeed in continuing Dads legacy of providing hard working people in this industry an answer to the hurdles they encounter everyday on the job.
Again, my family wishes all the best for you and your families. I personally thank you for all the wonderful friendship, caring and support you blessed my Dad with throughout the last years of his life.