NEWPORT BEACH — William D. Ray, who chaired the parent company of the Balboa Bay Club, died Sunday night at Hoag Hospital after an extended illness. He was 57.
Ray, chairman and chief executive officer of International Bay Clubs Inc., was a well-known fisherman and hunter who won several conservation awards and other honors.
In 1988, he was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for his conservation efforts, according to Balboa Bay Club officials. In 1986, the American Red Cross presented him with its Spirit Award. The Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled gave him its "Apple of Our Eye" award for his efforts to teach fishing and provide recreational opportunities for handicapped children in Orange County.
Ray, a member of the Republican National Committee, was one of seven members of Intercom, a presidential advisory board on matters jointly affecting the U.S. departments of Interior and Commerce.
Born in Avon, S.D., Ray ran away from home when he was 13 and enlisted in the National Guard, only to be thrown out when officers learned his true age, according to Balboa Bay Club officials.
Later, he became a paratrooper in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
After a varied college career, he became chief loan officer at Great Western Bank, where he helped finance the development of University Park in Irvine.
In 1967, Ray joined MACCO Realty, where his projects included the California Apartment Series, Leadership Homes, Coto de Caza and Scripps Miramar Ranch.
Ray founded International Bay Clubs Inc. 20 years ago and acquired the Balboa Bay Club from movie and television producer Jack Wrather. He later acquired the lease for what is now the BBC Racquet Club.
In 1980, IBC purchased Port of the Islands Resort, a 500-acre complex in the Florida Everglades. The firm later bought the Newport Beach Country Club, Outdoor Safaris International, Outdoor Ventures Publishing Co., which publishes California Angler and South Coast Sportfishing magazines, and the leases on four Orange County lakes.
Four months ago, however, Ray's company failed to win city approval for a $60-million expansion of the Balboa Bay Club that would have created a new 300-room hotel. Residents had complained that such a big complex might obscure their coveted ocean views and cause traffic jams.
Negotiations over the project are continuing.
Ray is survived by his wife, Beverly Hudgins Ray, and three children from a previous marriage, Holly Ray of Newport Beach, Jon Ray of Naples, Fla., and Adam Ray of San Francisco. He is also survived by a brother, Charles Ray of Naples, Fla.; a sister, Arlis Fousek of South Dakota, and two grandchildren, Brendan and Caitlin Fenno.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in the chapel of Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive, Newport Beach. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.
After the services, a memorial celebration will be held at the Balboa Bay Club.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions in Ray's name be made to United Anglers of Southern California, in care of Mary Lou McLaren at the Balboa Bay Club.