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«SPECIAL EDITION 1192- 166th Drive, Boone, IA 50036 January 2013 Special Edition SPECIAL EDITION TO THE YEA BO NEWSLETTER IN ...»

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Des Moines Y Camp

SPECIAL EDITION 1192- 166th Drive, Boone, IA 50036

January 2013 Special Edition




Ray Pugh- One of a Kind

Ray Pugh first came down the hill to Y Camp in 1946,

when he was 17 years old, to be a Y Camp leader for Leon Smith. He came back for six more summers, working in many departments, leading songs and stage shows and coordinating many staff and camper activities as program director. After seven summers his years as a Y Camp leader came to a close.

In 1970, Ray returned to Camp as the Director. For the next 22 years his vision and passion for kids made Y Camp a million dollar experience for all those who had the good fortune to spend a week or more at Camp.

The campers enjoyed the activities and programs which created lasting memories. The leaders learned life skills and made life-long friendships. Through the work and play of all, Y Camp became the Closest Place to Heaven on Earth.

Ray Pugh wore many hats during his life time including husband, father, teacher, coach, professor and Y Camp Director. In all of these roles he was always optimistic.

His positive attitude was inspiring, motivating and contagious. He made us laugh with the Plaid Lads, Good Time Gang and Leader Shows. He made us think about God, others and ourselves at 5 Fires, Inspiration Point and Chapel. He made us better doctors, lawyers, teachers or whatever occupation we pursued, by giving us chances to succeed, responsibilities to carry out and life lessons to follow.

One of Ray’s favorite quotes was, “The more you give, the more you live.” Ray lived life to the fullest, because he gave so much to everyone. We should all follow his example.

Thanks, Ray. We love you.

Kirk Hartung 1



Raymond Hill “Ray” Pugh, a former Drake University education professor, leader of the YMCA Camp near Boone and motivational speaker, died Sunday. His family said the cause of death was a heart ailment. He was 83.

Pugh had a simple motto: “It’s all about the kids.” He lived those words in front of classrooms, summer camp gatherings, football teams, elementary school assemblies and even on a backyard stage as a boy.

Friends and family believe Pugh, a native of Des Moines, performed silly songs, corny jokes and skits in front of more than a million school children for nearly 60 years as the leader of comedy troupes that went by the names The Good Time Gang, Plaid Lads, The Little Stinkers, and Three Jacks and a Queen.

The closing message at each performance was the same: “For the past 30 or 40 minutes, we haven’t told any dirty jokes, we didn’t swear or use drugs or alcohol. We didn’t do any of the dumb things people think you have to do to have fun.”Pugh helped raise four sons and a daughter with his wife of 58 years, Doris “Dodee” Pugh. But he added to moral foundations of thousands more children as executive director of the YMCA Camp, an annual summer program for children. Campers often grew into camp counselors and kept contact with the inspirational Pugh for years after they parted company.

The news of Pugh’s death spread via an email sent to thousands who had been praying for Pugh after he fell ill several days ago, said Don Adams, a retired Drake vice president.

“All three of my sons went to YMCA Camp with Ray Pugh and all three became camp counselors under Ray,” Adams said. “My sons are 52, 50 and 42. It’s been years and years since they were in that camp.

Yet they were still keeping track of him. They were among thousands who were praying for him and his family.

That’s how deeply he touched people.” Pugh’s power of positive thinking approach began at his boyhood home on 32nd Street in Des Moines. Pugh was 15 years old and too young to fight in World War II, but he wanted to contribute. So he gathered 20 friends from the neighborhood and put on a show. They sang, danced and told silly jokes in a homemade, backyard theater. They charged a dime for admission and 2 cents for a bag of popcorn. Hundreds attended. Pugh and company put the show on three years running.

Those youthful theatrical efforts were eventually turned into a musical called “The Home Front” that was performed at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines in the early 2000s.

Pugh attributed his positive attitude to his mother.

“People always call me Pollyanna Pugh,” he told The Des Moines Register in 1995. “Why am I so positive? It’s because I had a very positive mother. I can remember that during my whole life with my mother, I can’t recall her

–  –  –

Pugh was a standout football player at Des Moines Roosevelt High School and Central College. He received the Schindler Trophy from Central in 1951 as the Pella school’s best football player.

He earned a master’s degree from Drake University in 1958 and a doctorate from Iowa State University in 1968.

He taught at schools in Garden Grove, Monroe, Johnston and North High School in Des Moines. He served as vice principal at Callahan Middle School before becoming a professor of physical education, and later educational administration, at Drake in 1970.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Pugh was a sought-after motivational speaker and spoke before more than 150 commencement ceremonies in his lifetime, his family said. He wrote several books about his life, positive thinking and collections of his favorite quotes, including “The more you give, the more you live!” Pugh’s church, New Hope United Methodist Church in Des Moines, created the Ray Pugh Institute of New Hope.

Speakers from all walks of life, many directly influenced by Pugh’s indomitable optimism, speak to crowds of hundreds each year.

“He touched so many lives,” said Kirk Hartung, Pugh’s son-in-law. “You would go out to eat with him and people would come up to the table and remember him coming to their school 30 years or more ago.

People loved him.” A longtime Pugh family tradition was to gather at the Ray and Dodee’s house in Johnston on Sunday evenings for a potluck dinner. After the meal, Pugh went around the table asking everyone — young and old — to tell a story of something good that happened in their week.

“As the family grew, they even put an addition onto the house so we could keep doing it,” Hartung said.

Pugh is survived by his wife, Dodee Pugh, and five children: Shane, Wyatt, Jo Renee Hartung, Matt and Todd. Pugh had 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his step-mother, Helen Pugh.

Memorial contributions will be made to the Ray and Doris Pugh YMCA Camp Endowment, New Hope United Methodist Church, Drake University’s new education building or Central College.

Visitation is set for Wednesday from 3 to 8 p.m., with the family present from 5 to 8 p.m. at New Hope United Methodist Church, 4525 Beaver Drive in Des Moines. A Celebration of Life service is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Thursday at the church.

Celebration of Life seems appropriate, Hartung said.

“There will be a lot of laughter at this service,” he said. “Everybody is going to have a story to tell about Ray.” Article by Daniel Finny, Des Moines Register. Copyright 2012, printed with permission by The Des Moines Register Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121224/NEWS/121224013/Ray-Pugh-inspiration-to-children-and-adultsdies-at-83?nclick_check=1

–  –  –

Ray Pugh was a teacher, coach, author, camp director and public speaker of incredible renown. He would tell you his most important roles, however, were those of husband, father, son or friend.

(And, as always, Ray would be right).

Irrespective of the role, Ray was the most successful man any one of us had ever known. He was George Bailey long before that fictional character existed.

Everything he ever did was for someone else. Nothing he ever accomplished was without tremendous benefit to literally thousands upon thousands of people.

–  –  –

My faith informs me that Ray is in a better place. But my faith is also shaken at times such that I cannot help but believe that Raymond Hill Pugh will make heaven itself a better place.

— Cory McClure, Ankeny, a Des Moines lawyer and member of the Y-Camp board Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121226/OPINION04/312260015

–  –  –

6 Ray...you were an amazing person and you made this world a truly better place. Thoughts, prayers and lots of  hugs to Dodie and the family. Ray's legacy will live forever with those that were fortunate enough to have their lives touched by him.

As a youngster I had a severe asthma attack at the camp. I had lost my inhaler during the huge group photo,  and I was really having trouble breathing after that same group photo at the Y Camp in Boone. Ray personally drove me into town and bought me a new inhaler, and I was better almost instantly...I will never forget his kindness, and yes he will most definitely be missed.

I also got to experience y-Camp and he was such a vibrant person...also got to take care of him later in life. He  will be missed.

Our family attended Y Camp during familY Camp from  1971-1981 and have special memories of Ray and his family. My mom was camp nurse in the early 60s and my sister worked a summer in the 80s. We brought several different families with us to Y-Camp over the years and they were our best family vacations! Prayers to the family!

He will always be an important person to me and my  family. God bless!!Ray was such an inspiration.

A legend has passed. My first memory of Ray Pugh was  watching 'The Good Time Gang' in the cafeteria of Willard Elementary School. The phrase 'Holy Cow' will never be the same. I didn't have the pleasure of being at the Des Moines Y Camp when Ray Pugh was the Exec, but I was a camper under Wyatt Pugh and he always made my YCamp experience amazing. I will be forever grateful for the 7 summers that I spent at 'The Closest Place To Heaven On Earth' and my times at Family Camp seeing Ray Pugh do what he did best; making people smile. 2012 in our Y-Camp, no other year the same.

Ray, you were such an important part of my childhood.

 You will be missed by many!

You are out of pain and watching over all of us. I don’t remember this story but have heard stories about how you took me down the big metal slide that no longer exists and broke all the camp rules doing so!!! Love to all of your family; let us know if you need anything.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Drake University School of Education, I wish to send sincere sympathy  to the Pugh family. In this case, the family is over a million children, parents, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors, business people, administrators, counselors, community leaders and friends who had the pleasure to grow in spirit because of Ray Pugh. Although he is away, his memory will live forever.

There aren't enough POSITIVE words in any language to describe the amount of influence Ray had on all who  knew him.

He has left an imprint too large to measure and too deep to estimate for thousands of people  The world is a better place for all the lives you have touched. Thank you, and may God Bless your family.

 Ray had such a way to draw others into his giving and living. May my gratitude for his life and its impact blend  with your memories to provide comfort for the loss. My prayers are with his family.

7 Thinking of Ray's family and am so sorry for your loss. I'll always remember Ray and the influence he had on  my life when I attended Drake and had the privilege of being a part of the Good Time Gang. He was truly a wonderful man. You are all in my prayers.

There aren't enough POSITIVE words in any language to describe the amount of influence Ray had on all who  knew him. His passing is very sad. However, through family, friends and pictures we'll have positive memories to celebrate his life. Many years ago at a Family Camp session, when he talked about getting everything organized, I asked him: so we need to keep our ducks lined up on the pond? Ray took it from there, and surely has his "ducks all lined up on the pond." My profound sympathy to you, Dodee and all your family.

My deepest sympathy to all family and friends who knew and loved Ray. Over the years with my professional  diabetes education career, I had the privilege to see him in action. What a joy that was. He has left an imprint too large to measure and too deep to estimate for thousands of people.

Ray’s positive influence on how he shaped young lives over all his years was such a blessing. I feel great pride  for having known him and my life is thoroughly blessed from all my experiences with Ray.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/#!/DesMoinesY Camp?fref=ts; http://www.ilesfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Raymond-H.Pugh/Johnston/1151842



I knew of Ray Pugh before I knew Ray Pugh. Ray’s reputation as being an impactful leading and camping legend was one of the reasons I was drawn to Y Camp twelve years ago.

The stories of how Ray lifted people up and encouraged them to be the best they can be are always fun to hear.

And I hear them a lot! I am often asked about Ray and then have the opportunity to hear a great story on how Ray had an effect on the storyteller’s life. The truly telling thing about this is that I am asked about Ray here in Iowa but also all around the country. Dr. Ray Pugh cast a large net.

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