Raymond Lawrence Roby


December 7, 1922 - February 6, 2017


Raymond Lawrence Roby was born December 7, 1922 in Aberdeen, SD to Raymond J. and Marie (Clemens) Roby. His family lived in Hecla, SD and later moved to Watertown, SD. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1941. He went to California and worked at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He served in the US Army Air Force from 1943 until 1946. During his time in the service he attended the University of Maryland and Northern Carolina State College. While stationed in Texas he met Esther Jean Echols and they were married May 4, 1946 in Rapid City.  In 1949, he graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He worked with two mechanical contracting firms until 1954 when he started his own engineering firm, Ray L. Roby Consulting Engineer, in Mitchell.  Ray and his associates, now known as Roby, Quintal and Everson, designed mechanical systems in more than 2,500 buildings, including many schools, colleges, hospitals, churches and various industrial buildings in the region. On December 17, 1977, he married Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Buche Boehnen in Sioux Falls, SD.  Ray retired in 2000.

He was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the SD Pilots Association and a lifetime member of the American Legion.  He served on the Mitchell City Council 1959-1961, was past president and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.

Ray was often a mentor encouraging individuals in the engineering field.  He enjoyed his many years of work but in later years he had the opportunity to travel extensively and develop many hobbies like sailing, woodworking and his tree lot.  In 1991 he received the Davison County Tree Conservation Clean Tree award for his tree lot.

He is survived by three children: Michele Bittner and husband, George of Mitchell, SD, John Roby and wife, Elaine of South St. Paul, MN, Julia Roby Cuban and husband, Michael of Coronado, CA; three grandchildren: Brett Bittner and wife, Kristen of Sioux Falls, SD, David Cuban of Berkley, CA, Andrew Cuban of Santa Rosa, CA; one brother, Joseph Roby and wife, “Lou” of Watertown, SD; three step-children: David Boehnen and wife, Shari of St. Paul, MN, Vikki Lansing Copley and husband, Patrick of Sioux Falls, SD, and Daniel Boehnen and wife, Jennifer of Chicago, IL; seven step-grandchildren:  Lesley Casillas and husband, Julio of Lone Tree, CO, Michelle Negri and husband, Cristiano of New Port Beach, CA, Heather Meeker and husband, Dave of Chicago, IL, John Bieberdorf of Mason City IA, Nina Theiss and husband, Randy, of Charlotte, NC, Christopher Boehnen and wife, Kristine of Washington, DC and Lindz Boehnen of Mitchell, SD and many beloved nieces and nephews.  

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean in 1973; his wife, Betty in 2013; three sisters: Inez Dugan, Bernadette Miller and Harriet Miller; four brothers: Richard “Dick” Roby, Claire “Buzz” Roby, William “Bill” Roby, and Thomas Roby and an infant granddaughter, Bridget Bittner.


Memorials may be directed to the Mitchell Foundation for Catholic Education or the Mitchell Area Historical Society.



Thursday, February 9, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
Scripture Service ~ 7:00 PM
1401 West Cedar Avenue
Mitchell, South Dakota


Friday, February 10, 2017
10:30 AM
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
1401 West Cedar Avenue
Mitchell, South Dakota


Calvary Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by Kasey Abbott on February 11, 2017
Great engineer who I had a lot of respect for.
Posted by Paul deboer on February 11, 2017
This is for John haven't seen you for years. My thoughts and prayers are with your family
Posted by John Bieberdorf on February 10, 2017
Ray's kindness,wisdom, hospitality, integrity, & generous nature was known far & wide. Those same traits are carried on through his children, Michelle,John & Julie and their families. Which is the true measure of a great man & father. He will be missed.
Posted by Elaine Adams Rhoades on February 10, 2017
Prayers and heartfelt thoughts go out to you, Michelle, George and family! May your memories ease the pain of your loss🙏🏻💐
Posted by Warren & Eileen Johnson - Spearfish, SD on February 10, 2017
Michele & family: I was sorry to hear of your father's passing. You are in our thoughts & prayers during this difficult time.
Posted by John Cothern on February 10, 2017
Years ago, when working for Ray, the examples that he displayed were a credit to his
ability to be a great leadership talent, even in his private life. Ray... you never knew it! And that's what made you GREAT. Rest in peace now that you're home with your God.
Posted by Jordan & Gail Dawn, Gold Beach, OR on February 9, 2017
We smile when we think of Ray. A sparkle in his eyes. A man of integrity. An inspiration. He will be missed on this earthly plane. Our hearts and prayers to Michele, George and all of Ray's family.
Posted by Julie (Simpson) Backous on February 9, 2017
Ray was a very kind and special soul who will be deeply missed. I have great memories of Ray and Betty at the lake. My thoughts and sympathies to Michelle, George, Julia, John and your entire family. I will never forget him.
Posted by Lloyd and Darlene Lueken on February 9, 2017
Ray was coming into our place of business early in the morning starting way back in the late 50's. Later we would often see him and Betty having lunch in our place and every Saturday morning we could count on him and Brett sitting at the same booth visiting. He was such a class act. Our sympathy to the family.
Posted by Bob Schutte, Redfield on February 9, 2017
I worked with Ray for about 25 years on many projects as Physical Plant Manager at the South Dakota Developmental Center. He was great to work with and always knowledgeable and Happy.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the Family
Posted by John and Marsha Miller on February 9, 2017
We will never forget Uncle Ray's kindness to us in difficult times. His words were encouraging and his wisdom refreshing. His Christmas notes were always precious to us. So thankful he lived a long full life and was an inspiration to so many. Hugs, love and sympathy to all the family as we celebrate his life.
Posted by Ray McDorman on February 9, 2017
My condolences to the Roby family. What a classy guy both professionally and as a friend. I worked with Ray from 1967 thru 1995 on numerous projects for the State of South Dakota, Office of the State Engineer, and I think I could speak for all that worked in that era with Ray L Roby and Associates and later with the Roby, Quintal and Everson firm that when it was all said and done the State got a fair shake. I remember his motto well " Nobody thanks you for cheap job", how right he was. Rest easy my friend, you have earned it.
Posted by Elwin & Rosalie Hohn on February 9, 2017
We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of Ray Roby, may God give you strength at this difficult time.
Posted by Gary & Kay Shafer on February 9, 2017
We send our Condolences to the Roby family, most especially to Michele. Your father was a Kind & Gentle Man, yet a strong business leader. Prayers, Peace, & Comfort all these days.
Posted by Fr. Michael Schneider on February 9, 2017
Ray was a Holy Man, Church and Faith was an important part of his life; even on the days he came to church on the wrong day. My prayers are for and with each of you.
Posted by Carol Berg on February 9, 2017
Michele an George so sorry for your loss. My Prayers are with you
Posted by Joe Cothern on February 8, 2017
Each of us have perhaps, a handful of people that we have met that have had the most positive influence on our lives. Often times it is a parent, coach, teacher or first boss. Ray Roby was one of those people for me as he was my first boss while I was in high school. He hired me as a draftsman for Ray L. Roby and Associates and it was this first job that gave me the confidence to think that, I too, could become an engineer. He let me work there summers and during Christmas vacations. He hired many, other young adults including my brother John Cothern and Roger Toulouse. He is the best example that I have of a successful, small businessman. I learned much more from him than just engineering. Just hanging around him while I was in college and observing how he treated people and focused on his business was most educational. You can’t get what he taught me from school. Ray was quite a guy – bright, funny, and focused. I have thought about him often over the years and will always remember my times with him. I’m a lucky guy to have met Ray L. Roby so early in my life.
Posted by Lynn Morrison on February 8, 2017
I will always remember Uncle Ray,he was kind & always smiling.
Posted by Judy Miller on February 8, 2017
Uncle Ray was my Favorite Uncle... in Mitchell!! Michelle, I'll put the family on my Church's prayer chain. He always had a smile & shared a kind word. He was loved by all & will be missed!
Posted by Joseph Roby on February 8, 2017
Rest in peace uncle Ray
Posted by Shirley Wuertzer on February 8, 2017
My thoughts and prayers to you and your families. Always enjoyed Ray and his great attitude for life.
Posted by Douglas G Kusel on February 8, 2017
I guess it is fair to say that a number of us got to know Mr. Roby through his children; on more than one occasion we were invited to spend a day at their lake home enjoying water skiing, flag football and Fourth of July celebrations on Lake Mitchell. His children are great examples of Ray’s immeasurable traits.
Posted by Kathy Hagen on February 8, 2017
Always enjoyed visiting with Uncke Ray at family gatherings. Sharpest dresser ever and one of the handsome Roby boys of Robe and Gram. Lived a long and productive life and will be missed. Rest in peace, Uncle Ray..
Posted by Gary & Karla Olson on February 7, 2017
Enjoyed seeing him in church on Sundays. He always had a smile and kind words. Thoughts and Prayers to all
Posted by Jerry "Andy" Anderson on February 7, 2017
In my association with George and Michelle, I got to know Ray and was very much impressed with the class and dignity in which he lived his life.
Posted by Kay Schoenfelder on February 7, 2017
Sending prayer and thought to Family of Ray. What an awesome man. Enjoyed him a lot. RIP
Posted by Ramona Munneke on February 7, 2017
Harold and I offer our sincere sympathy to you and your family.
Posted by Dave Roby on February 7, 2017
Uncle Ray. A class act always. RiP.
Posted by Doug & Candy Roby Sioux Falls on February 7, 2017
Rest In Peace Uncle Ray.
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