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Raymond Houston Neisewander Jr.

DIXON – Raymond H. Neisewander Jr., 81, of 468 Timberland Drive, Dixon, died Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, at his home, surrounded by family, after a long illness. A longtime Dixon resident, he was the chairman of the board of directors and former president and CEO of Raynor Worldwide.

He was born May 30, 1932, in Springfield, the oldest son of Ray Sr. and Audrienne (Murphy) Neisewander. He married Jean Baxter on Nov. 30, 1957, and they divorced in 1987. He met Kim Danreiter in 1997, and they married on June 29, 2002. 

After attending elementary school in Springfield, he attended Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, graduating in 1951. After attending Springfield (Ill.) Junior College and the University of Illinois, he served in the Army from 1954 to 1956, stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. 

His career with Raynor began in Bettendorf, Iowa, where he started a Raynor garage door dealership in 1956. He then moved to Raynor’s headquarters in Dixon in 1961. In 1968, he was promoted to executive vice president and a member of the management team, where he launched and managed the trucking division, Raynor Express Inc. In 1979, he became the president, CEO, and chairman of the board for Raynor, Kwik-Wall of Springfield, and Raynor Hotel Corporation, also of Springfield.

Active in the Dixon community, Ray had served on the governing boards of the Dixon Airport, Amcore (Dixon National) Bank, Dixon United Way, Dixon Family YMCA, and Wahl Clipper Corporation. He was also known for his generosity to a long list of community events and organizations such as Dixon Public Library, Dixon public and parochial schools, Dixon Theatre Renovation, Northern Illinois Cancer Treatment Center, Dixon Petunia Festival, Dixon Industrial Development Association, Dixon Public School District Foundation, Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and many local charities.

In 1993, the Illinois State Board of Education honored him with their prestigious Award of Excellence for his long-standing support of schools. In 1996, the Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce presented him with its annual Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Active in his industry, he served on the board of the National Association of Garage Door Manufacturers (NAGDM) starting in 1972, was elected as its president from 1973-74, and served as treasurer from 1986 to 1996. In 2006, the International Door Association named Ray Jr. and Ray III as the recipients of the industry’s first Heritage Award for outstanding contributions to the garage door industry. That same year, Ray and Raynor were recognized as Illinois’ Family Business of the Year by the Family Business Center of Loyola University of Chicago.

Survivors include his wife, Kim Neisewander of Dixon; three sons, Ray (Cindy) Neisewander III of Dixon, Todd Neisewander of Sterling, and Dan (Tara) Yanes of Rock Falls; seven daughters, Tammy (Steve) Reuter of Dixon, Jennifer Danreiter of Rock Falls, Debra Neisewander of Ashland, Ore., Pamela (Tony) Russo of Macomb, Mich., Karla (Ken) Shioi of Las Vegas, Darcy (Brian) Boatman of Beloit, Wis. and Lori (Jason) Burchell of San Diego; 26 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his siblings, Catherine (Ed) Vespa of Rockford, Patricia (Bill) Harford of Chesterfield, Mo., Eleanora (George) Lyons of Clearwater, Fla., and Jack (Dee) Neisewander Sr. of Rockford.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Margaret Bradley, and his great-granddaughter, Malia Hammond.

Visitation will be from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday at St. Anne Catholic Church, 1104 N. Brinton Ave. in Dixon. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church. Burial with military honors will be at Coloma Township Cemetery in Rock Falls, with the Rev. Michael Morrissey of Holy Cross Parish in Stockton officiating. Preston-Schilling Funeral Home in Dixon is handling arrangements.

A memorial has been established.

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