Ray Steven Oliver, architect, loving father, avid fisherman, Eagle Scout, amazing chef, mentor to so many, died peacefully in his sleep at home on April 27, 2022.
Ray was born on February 22, 1945 to Herbert Taylor Oliver and Ella Major Oliver, who had come to Denver from the wheat farms of Kansas during the depression. Ray retained a life-long interest in and ownership of a Kansas wheat farm.
He attended public schools in Denver, graduating from South High School in 1962. He won a full scholarship to Colgate University, from which he graduated with honors in 1966. He was enrolled at the Yale School of Architecture in the fall of 1967. Shortly thereafter he married his hometown girl next door, Alice. She came to be with him in New Haven and was by his side for the next 54 years.
Ray graduated from Yale with a Masters of Architecture in 1971, distinguishing himself academically by winning the William Wirt Winchester travelling fellowship, the school’s most prestigious award.
Ray’s architectural legacy in Milford began with the construction of The Milford Boat Works, an innovative design that won an award from the Connecticut Society of Architects. The building still stands, along with so many surrounding the Milford green, all looking as if they had been there forever. Ray was able to unify and upgrade the appearance and charm of downtown Milford by serving as architect to many local clients.
Ray’s gift of architectural vision was unconstrained by whatever state of disrepair existed. He created a Center for the Arts out of an abandoned railroad station, a flourishing city-owned marina out of a decommissioned sewage treatment plant, a homeless shelter from an underutilized warehouse on New Haven Avenue, and a French themed coffeehouse/café in place of an old music store. His projects have become icons to Milford residents, often photographed with pride of place: Stonebridge Restaurant, the Gulf Beach renovation, and Schooner Wharf on Factory Lane.
Ray had a strong sense of community . He was on the Board of Directors of the Milford Bank, Milford Hospital, River Park Elderly Housing and the Milford Cemetery Association. He served multiple terms on the Harbor Management Commission and the Building Code Board of Appeals. He designed the Club House at Orchards and oversaw two significant renovations of the Milford Public Library.
He loved to fish on his beloved Blueline and he loved to cook in his own well designed kitchens. Ray loved his family and was a nurturing and caring father, grandfather, and, especially, husband. He will be remembered and forever loved by his wife Alice, his sons Stephen and wife Carmen Jean of Spring Branch, Texas, and Alexander and Liza Wu, of Manhattan; his brother Allan and partner Gary of Vancouver, Washington; by his grandchildren Beatty and wife Nicole of Charleston, Haley Ray of Charlotte, and Haley Sterling of San Marcos, Texas; and by his great-grandson Bentley.
Friends wishing to honor Ray’s memory are asked by the family to think of him when exercising the guiding principle of his life, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad St., Milford. A Graveside Service will take place on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at the Milford Cemetery, 35 Gulf Street, Milford (MEET DIRECTLY AT CEMETERY).
To plant a tree in memory of Ray Steven Oliver, please click here.