IRON MOUNTAIN - Ray "Remo" Mariucci, 90, of Iron Mountain, passed away Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at the D. J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.
He was born Dec. 29, 1922, in Costacciaro, Italy, son of the late Ercole and Adele (Bocchi) Mariucci. Ray moved to Iron Mountain with his family in 1928, at the age of six. He graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1941, and worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps after graduation.
Ray enlisted in the United States Army in 1942, and served initially with the 506 Tank Destroyer Battalion with the rank of corporal during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
He attended Michigan State University from 1946 to 1951, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees along with some work towards a doctorate in education. While at Michigan State, he participated on the boxing and wrestling teams, worked on the school newspaper as a sports writer, and served as president of the Upper Peninsula Club.
As a graduate student, Ray taught at Michigan State and also coached the East Lansing High School wrestling team to a first place finish in the Class B State Tournament. He also initiated the wrestling program and team at the Boys' Correctional Institution in Lansing.
In 1952, Ray served as a Red Cross national field representative in safety services and then moved back to Iron Mountain as manager of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Ray married Dolores Hart in 1953. She preceded him in death on Aug. 14, 2007.
In 1954, he began his teaching career of 31 years with the Breitung Township School System in the capacity of teacher, acting principal, guidance counselor, and coach. During the summer, Ray owned and operated the franchise for the Tastee-Freez soft ice cream store and later developed a golf driving range and small ski hill on South Stephenson in Iron Mountain.
Ray started and coached Kingsford's first wrestling team in 1964, and then took a major role in the development of that sport in the Upper Peninsula. Prior to coaching high school wrestling, he worked with local amateur boxers for a number of years producing several outstanding fighters.
In the summer of 1967, Ray attended The Midwest Institute of Alcohol Studies and then worked as a volunteer with the Ala-Teen program locally to help and counsel teenagers who had parents with serious drinking problems.
From1968 to 1972, Ray took graduate courses in special education from Northern Michigan University, which dealt with mentally and physically disadvantaged students. He wrote a series of articles for the local newspaper on the subject of retardation.
In 1972, he was listed in "Leaders of American Secondary Education," published to honor achievements of the nation's foremost secondary educators. Ray was presented a certificate of appreciation in 1976, from District Judge Robert Payant for years of outstanding community service as a volunteer sponsor for the 95th B District Court of Michigan.
In the late 1970s, Ray initiated the Junior High Academic Quiz program in Dickinson County, which later spread throughout the Upper Peninsula and eventually developed into an annual U.P. tournament with the cooperation of the Community Schools.
After his retirement in 1985, Ray remained active teaching GED classes for older individuals who wanted to earn high school credit or equivalence. He also developed and coordinated the Academic High School Bowl program and competition for local and surrounding area high schools with the cooperation of the Community Schools. This activity provided scholarship money for all schools participating, donated by local businesses. Occasionally Ray promoted and ran quiz tournaments for adults.
During his retirement, Ray also started and organized the area bocce ball recreational program, leagues, and facilities which many people of all ages enjoyed for a number of years. He served as president of the Dickinson Area Bocce Association.
In 1991, Ray was the first person from the Upper Peninsula to be inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Hall of Fame for his association with the sport. He was also inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Mariucci Trophy was awarded to an Upper Peninsula wrestling team for "wrestling supremacy" annually. The Kingsford Invitational was renamed the "Mariucci Invitational" in 2001.
Ray's hobbies include artistic painting, which he began after retirement, listening to music, and writing. His collection of albums of past artists, musical groups, and orchestras numbered in the hundreds. He wrote various articles for newspapers and magazines. Ray authored the booklet, History of Upper Peninsula High School Wrestling Championships.
Among his greatest joys was his family, including his six children, who he looked upon with great pride. He was very appreciative of his family life which provided much love, life enrichment experiences, and many fond and precious memories.
Ray often expressed appreciation and satisfaction for having been involved in a career in education and community activities.
He belonged to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, serving as an usher for many years and as chairman of the church's centennial celebration in 1990.
Ray also belonged to MEA, NEA, UCT, MARSP, AARP, DAV, and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He served as president of the Michigan State Alumni Club.
He is survived by three sons, Steve (Gayle) Mariucci of Monte Sereno, Calif., Michael (Bonnie) Mariucci of Swartz Creek, Mich., and Robert (Lisa) Mariucci of Templeton, Calif.; three daughters, Donna Ayotte, Cheryl (Ray) Hosking and Sandra Mariucci, all of Marquette. Ray is also survived by 12 grandchildren, Bobbi and Ryan (Nicki) Ayotte, Christopher Fedrizzi, Tyler, Adam, Stephen, and Brielle Mariucci, Alissa (Dan) Saylor and Joey (Brittany) Mariucci, and Haylee, Taylor, and Olivia Mariucci; one great-granddaughter, Braelynn Lawson; and many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents and wife, Dolores, Ray was preceded in death by three brothers, Paul, August, and Amobile.
Visitation will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Jacobs Funeral Home in Iron Mountain. Prayers will be recited Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the funeral home.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon Saturday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Iron Mountain. Msgr. James Kaczmarek will officiate.
Burial will be in Cemetery Park in Iron Mountain. The American Legion Uren-Cooper Iron Mountain Post 50 will accord military honors at graveside accompanied by other military representatives.
Memorials can be made to the Beacon House, 1301 N. Third St., Marquette, MI 49855, in Ray's memory.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Ray, or leave a condolence for his family online at www.JacobsFuneralHomes.com.
The family has chosen the Jacobs Funeral Home of Iron Mountain to honor Ray's legacy of life.