Ray Walker ’92 includes DA in his plans via Bequest

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Ray Walker’s life changed when his best friend, J.J. Stokes, drowned in the Deerfield River. The tragedy, which occurred in the spring of Ray’s junior year, deeply affected the rest of his Deerfield days; joyous moments mixed with an ever-present sense of loss. But Ray’s love of the school only deepened over time.  

A scholarship kid from the Bronx, Ray came to Deerfield through New York’s Prep for Prep. Although he initially struggled in a setting and culture strikingly different from his own, Ray was determined to take advantage of all Deerfield had to offer. He grew to trust and value his relationships with several faculty mentors and made lifelong friends with fellow students.   

“When J.J. died, I was overwhelmed by the community’s outpouring of support.  Friends, classmates, dorm mates, faculty, and staff made clear they were there for me.  I’d never expected nor experienced such sincere support.” 

As an adult Ray volunteered for Deerfield as a member of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, and he was a leader of the Deerfield Club of New York. When Ray had a chance to join the staff at Deerfield, he didn’t hesitate.  From 2016-2019 he was Deerfield’s Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. Now he’s back in New York – still in education at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.

“At Deerfield I had one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, losing my close friend. But year after year, the positive energy I’ve drawn from being part of the Deerfield community has meant the world to me.”

Ray has included Deerfield in his long-term fundraising plans: he realized he could include Deerfield as a percentage beneficiary while still ensuring his family’s security.

“Hopefully it will be many years before Deerfield realizes that gift!  But life is unpredictable. I take a unique kind of pride in knowing I have made a provision for Deerfield. I hope my story may inspire others to do the same.”