“Each man’s life touches so many other lives,” the angel Clarence tells George Bailey in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Raymond H. Neisewander Jr.’s life exemplified the truth of that statement.
Neisewander, 81, of Dixon, who died Oct. 25 and was laid to rest Thursday, led a life of achievement and involvement that touched literally thousands of other lives in the Dixon area and beyond.
As chairman of the board of directors and former president and CEO of Raynor Worldwide, he represented the second generation of Neisewander leadership for the family-owned garage door manufacturer.
After working his way up the Raynor ladder, he took the management reins from his father, Ray Sr., in 1979. At that point, Raynor did $30 million of business a year. By 2000, Neisewander had more than tripled the company’s business, to more than $100 million.
Among his accomplishments was launching and managing Raynor Express Inc., the company’s trucking division.
His tenure saw the rapid expansion of Raynor’s manufacturing facilities. The company expanded its product line into rolling doors and also operators, both residential and commercial. Raynor expanded its distribution beyond the U.S. borders to more than 45 countries.
Neisewander did not limit his activities to only his business ventures.
He provided leadership for the national garage door industry through its trade group.
He served on governing boards for the United Way, YMCA, and Dixon Airport, along with Wahl Clipper and Amcore Bank.
His involvement in organizations and community events ranged from the Dixon library and local schools to the Dixon Theatre renovation, Petunia Festival, and Dixon Industrial Development Association.
And his peers responded with gratitude. He received major awards from the Illinois State Board of Education, Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce, and International Door Association.
People who never knew Neisewander were positively affected by his contributions and influence.
Neisewander leaves behind a successful company that provides useful products for its customers and jobs for the community, as well as a legacy of involvement that surpassed all reasonable expectations.
He also leaves behind 10 children, including Ray Neisewander III, Raynor’s current president and CEO.
Commenting on his father’s passing, Ray III said in a news release: “He slipped away comfortably and peacefully, surrounded by his family in his home. We could not have scripted a more graceful ending to his full and vibrant life.”
Ray Neisewander Jr. really did have a wonderful life. Many people are so much the better for it.
We join the community in mourning his death. We offer our condolences to his family and friends.