Obituary for Ray Svenson
July 24, 1939 – September 17, 2015

Ray Svenson died at his home in Red Lodge, Montana at 4:54 a.m. on Thursday, September 17, 2015 following an 18-month long battle with brain cancer.  He was 76 years old.

Ray was born on July 24, 1939 in Chicago, IL . Ray was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Virginia Svenson. Surviving him are his cherished and beloved wife, Pat Ruzich, to whom he was married in Brookfield, Il in 1996, and his pride and joy – daughters Beth Svenson, Kris Chew, Karin Lyon, and Amanda Clardy,and sons-in-law Jose-Luis Machado, Ed Chew, and Dave Lyon. He is also survived by nine dearly loved grandchildren: Anna-Olivia Machado, Matteo Machado, Christina Machado, Audrey Chew, Harper Chew, Nic Clardy,  Zackary Clardy , Emily Lyon and Andy Lyon, and his dear brother Robert and sister Sue and their families.

Ray completed high school at North Park Academy in Chicago, IL and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal Tech in Pasadena, CA. He went on after his schooling to create a legacy that includes not only his family and multitude of treasured friends, but also significant contributions as an organizational systems architect, and an engineer, and entrepreneur in strategic planning, organization development and learning and development to his many clients – from dozens of corporate giants such as Alcoa, Arco Alaska, AT&T, Boeing, Ford, General Dynamics, General Motors, McDonald’s, Motorola and many others – to many meaningful and valued non-profit organizations both locally and across the United States. Since moving to Red Lodge, he has contributed in a variety of ways to organizations including Montana State University at Billings, the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association, Carbon County Historical Society, Red Lodge Parks Board, Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, the Episcopal Church in Red Lodge, the Boys and Girls Club of Canyon County, the Humane Alliance, Red Lodge Area Soccer League, Billings Amateur Hockey League, Wildfire Defense, Mountain Bluebells, Collective Recycling, and others. Ray loved his work and never really retired – he continued making significant contributions throughout his life.

Ray loved the outdoors – hiking, boating, fishing, camping and other activities – which was one of the many reasons he enjoyed moving to Red Lodge in 2008. He was also an accomplished fix-it guy and a voracious reader of business, history, biographies and suspense novels. Those of us who knew him got to learn in great detail about a myriad of topics such as the civil war, the American revolution, the history of Red Lodge, and much much more. He cared deeply about the courageous acts and lives that have contributed to making the world a better place and never tired of sharing his passion about this with others. In addition, Ray found great meaning and pleasure in falling in love the the passions of other people and finding ways to help others pursue them. If someone’s passion touched his heart he was there to help them design their passion into reality. And he could always enjoy a good cigar and a glass of bourbon out on the deck watching the sun set at the end of the day.

Ray Svenson was a man who cared. He cared deeply about and for his family, his friends, his colleagues and employees, his work, his community, and his world. Ray was one of those people about whom it can truthfully be said that the world is a better place for him having been in it and those of us who had the privilege of knowing him are better people for it. In short, Ray was a man who will truly be missed. He was what is sometimes called a “mensch” – a man of character, integrity, goodness and kindness. There is a hole in this world the size and shape of Ray Svenson.

A service and potluck celebrating Ray’s life was held at 4 pm on September 21st, 2015 at St. Agnes Church in Red Lodge, Montana.

In lieu of flowers, Ray has asked that memorial contributions be made to the work his daughter Kris is doing in the Congo – The Congo Animal Traction Initiative, which is making great inroads in helping to fight hunger and establish self-sufficiency to people living in Congo. Donations in Ray’s honor can be sent to:

                                       Congo Animal Traction Initiative
                                       c/o Monty Buhro
                                       8701 W. Bedford Euless Road
                                       Hurst, TX 76053



Ray was the co-author of the following Books:

  • The Training & Development Strategic Plan Workbook. Raynold A. Svenson and Monica J. Rinderer, Prentice Hall, 1992 (Winner of ISPI International Award)
  • The Quality Roadmap: How to Get Your Company on the Quality Track and Keep It There. Ray Svenson, Karen Wallace, and Guy W. Wallace, AMACOM and Quality Resources, 1994
  • performance-based Employee Qualification/Certification Systems. Ray Svenson and Guy W. Wallace. The Svenson & Wallace Press, 2008. Available as a PDF download (3.73 MB)


Ray published numerous articles in national journals, some of which are available here in PDF format.


Ray presented at numerous international conferences throughout his career.


Ray facilitated a blue-ribbon ISPI task force working to clarify Human Performance Technology. CLICK HERE for the presentation.



Inquiries into Ray's business can be directed to Ray's wife, Pat Ruzich at:

112 Two Mile Bridge Road
Roberts, MT 59070
Phone: (406) 425-4014


(c)2001-2015 Ray Svenson Consulting, Inc.