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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Introducing Ray and Peggy Wise

For many years, Benny and I have had the privilege to have some good neighbors, among them Ray and Peggie Wise. They operated AquaWise well into their seventies, and had a feed store along with their water softening business . Originally from around Peru, Indiana, Ray fought in World War II, and then went to Purdue on the G.I. Bill. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Science from Purdue University in 1960 and subsequently did consulting and research for many major companies, often at his little farm outside of Lafayette with the help of his able and capable wife Peggie and their three children. He was a power-house and pursued many different interests, as well as farming and operating his own business in the course of providing for and caring for his family. One of his major accomplishments in his field was developing the powdered egg formula that the astronauts ate on their trip to the moon.

Although we had occasional interaction with Ray and Peggie at their store and in conjunction with Benny's refinishing, we actually got to know them better in later years. Benny especially struck up a close friendship with Ray and Peggie when he took them to the 2001 Farm Progress Show just down our road from our houses after Ray was recovering from open heart surgery and was unable get about without assistance. Benny and another friend of ours, Larry Giroux, also mowed the Wise's yard after Ray had that surgery, as good neighbors often do.

Ray and Peggie were friendly, kind, intelligent, and interesting people. They were members of the First Christian Church in Lafayette for most of their married lives. Although a disciplined, empirical scientist, Ray has lived comfortably with both his science and his faith. He is even somewhat of a mystic. Ray has given Benny and me some really fun and nice things to sell at antique shows and in our booth at Antique malls. Many items were primitives. One in particular was a bob sled he had made as a boy with a steering wheel from an old Model T Ford. More recently he contributed an old unicycle to our garage sale.

Peggie Wise passed away in late winter / early spring of 2006 after a long bout with Alzheimers and diabetes. When she had to move to a nursing home because of her medical condition, Ray faithfully went to sit with her every day. Married almost 60 years, he has been lost without her.

One of the things that Ray has always wanted to finish was an article on the fate of Marilyn Monroe. He had always felt that the research he'd done for his Ph.D. could shed some light on her death and he followed the news of the time and subsequent books about it with great interest.

He has been kind enough to allow me to post his observations on this blog, so stay tuned ... :)

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