About Ray Merrihew


I was born, nurtured, and grew up in the beautiful State of Vermont.  I do not care for winter's cold, but the quiet snowscapes are tranquil and beauty deep.  Rural Vermont clears your mind and heals your spirit, and is still my heart home.  My father was a brilliant under-educated man who was an intuitive healer, a healer of cars and machinery. He also did outstanding work in wood and wiring and piping around our house and camp, such as building the two bathrooms, including creating the bathtubs from sheet metal!  My mother grew from her limited experiences as a young country bride into a spiritual leader in her Church groups.  She had no use for "fire and brimstone" teachings of some Sunday School teachers and thus guided me into spiritual rather than fearful directions.


I discovered in my early twenties that none of my friends thought about things like gods, existence, spirituality, why we are here, what we should be doing, etc.  Fortunately I was mentored by many, including a young Episcopal priest who did faith healing and introduced me to the idea of the great expanse of the Holy.  A psychic enlarged my concept of reality.  An oncology nurse who refused to die modeled enthusiasm for life.

I had some physical problems as a child which were eventually taken care of, but they left me hesitant to reach out, to assert myself.  This began to change when my Father died when I was 16.  Several people later told me I grew up then.  In  high school and college I worked in a restaurant, from soda jerk, to fountain manager, to short order cook.  This introduced me to many kinds of people.  It also gave me money.  I loved cars - to drive, not to fix - and when I was 15, I bought my first car, a stately black 1931 Plymouth.

One of the gifts my mother gave me was the oft stated assumption that I would go to college.  So I entered the University of Vermont, with $100 in the bank.  I graduated with a BA from UVM, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.  At UVM I began a side step in my life into the business world.  I became interested in economics and this led to my being recommended to The Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.  Two years later I graduated with an MBA.  There I learned many things, among them:  1) there are some people in this world who are many orders of magnitude brighter than most of us;  2) I enjoyed and could easily handle human relations and marketing cases;  3) I should never, ever have anything to do with factories or production!
 
Shortly after graduation, a classmate offered me a job in RCA's international business.  I moved to New Jersey and worked 11 years in international financing,  marketing, planning and training.  I traveled to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, as well as Switzerland, Holland and England.  I enjoyed working with many different foreign nationals.  I was instrumental in the introduction of color television to Argentina and later to Mexico.  I later worked in long-range planning for a few years at Western Union.
 
 

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Then my life shifted back onto my main path, though it did not feel so at the time.  My addiction to alcohol and to Valium left me severely depressed, broke, unemployable, and I would have been homeless if my oldest sister in Vermont had not taken me in.  Now if you know anything about the 12 step program of AA, you know it works.  You may also know that it is a spiritual - NOT religious - program, an important distinction in recovery.  I called  AA in July and became free of alcohol and tranquilizers by the following May 23, 1976.  It has been a difficult, but wonderful journey.  It has forced/enabled me to develop an inner spirituality that I probably would not have achieved without my desperate need and Alcoholics Anonymous.