Final Note: Ray Acton

Ray ActonLife Member. French Horn
(8/8/1921 – 12/7/2014)

by the Acton family

Raymond Denny Acton, an accomplished French horn player and manufacturing engineer has passed away at 93. Ray was born in Roundup, Montana and was the youngest of four children. Ray was very passionate about music and developed a love for the French horn at a very young age playing in his elementary school band in Phoenix. After moving to Hollywood, he continued playing the French horn at Fairfax High School.

Physical fitness and working out was very important to Ray. As a teenager and young man he joined a group of gymnasts and body builders who regularly met at the Santa Monica Beach (later known as Muscle Beach) where they would perform handstands, gymnastics and acrobats. In 1942, Ray enlisted in the Army Air Force and considered himself very fortunate to play the French horn in the post concert and post dance marching bands and also the full orchestra. He had many fond memories of those years including participating in the welcoming home ceremonies for the WWII troops and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s memorial service.

Upon his discharge, Ray attended UCLA and the LA Conservatory of Music where he studied the French horn under Vince DiRosa. His musical career spanned some forty years which included playing the French horn for the Pasadena, Burbank and the Santa Monica Symphonies and also the LA City Band. He was a member of the LA Horn Club, and a member of the Orchestra for Conductors Workshop. He was also involved in freelance motion picture, radio and television recordings including performing on the Jack Benny program. During his spare time Ray taught French horn at C & D Music Co. He and his wife Patricia Imes lived in Encino where they raised their four children.

Ray’s professional career consisted of various positions at military manufacturing companies. He was awarded an honorary degree from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and spent 18 years at Litton Industries as a manufacturing engineer working on the development of high performance laser gyroscopes for military airplanes and ships. He also enjoyed being a member of Litton’s championship table tennis team, which earned him several trophies.

Ray spent his retirement years in Frazier Park, CA, where he was an active member of the community and served for several years as President of the local AARP. He was instrumental in opening the Frazier Park Senior Center. He especially enjoyed his retirement years as the loving patriarch of the large Acton family cherishing many family get-togethers. He loved traveling in his motor home, spending time with friends, square dancing and ballroom dancing with his current wife Bonnie whom in married in 2009. They enjoyed spending time together, working on projects around the house, cruising and traveling.

Ray is survived by his widow Bonnie, son William, son Richard and wife Debbie, son Michael and wife Aimee, daughter Susan Landy and adopted daughter Alma Vorst. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren, three stepchildren, two step grandchildren, cousins and nephews.

Ray once said “divine powers guided my life to the wonderful world of music and to the many talented musicians with whom I was so fortunate to share those magical moments. This inspiration and encouragement so enriched my life.”