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Ray Arbizu

Posted 2009-08-19 by Pat Wilson
Ray Arbizu, son of Ray Cahill Arbizu and Margarita Trujillo, born August 10, 1929 in Phoenix, Arizona, expired in his home Saturday morning the 24th of May 2003 surrounded by loved ones.

His posterity includes the following: His wife of 50 years A. Marion and nine children: Ray Lawrence Jr., the late Kathleen DeEtte, Marcus Adrian, Ann Amelia, Linda Fe, Blaine Thomas (Rowan Morrison), Beth Eileen, David Lloyd Carlos, Heidi Renee and their respective spouses. Ray and Marion have 40 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Ray also leaves behind 10 of 11 siblings including sisters Juanita Perez, Ernestina Valenzuela, Alicia Rivera, Margarita Castro, Virginia Abevia, Bridget Arbizu, Mary Helen Duran and brothers, Frank, David and Danny Arbizu. His step-brother Vincent Orduno is deceased.

Ray graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1947. He received his Bachelors and Masters of Arts degrees in Music Education from Arizona State University in 1952 and 1955 respectively. He served two years active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He continued his education at USC with six years of postgraduate work to prepare for a career in opera. While at USC, he was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Grant to study in Vienna, Austria. Thereafter, he secured lead tenor positions at the Theater der Stadt Bonn (1962-65) and the Stadtische Buhmen Essen (1965-67) in Germany.

He returned to the United States to sing with the American National Opera Company (1967-68). In addition, he had performances with Aachen, Cologne and Karlsruhe in Germany, and with Boston Opera Co., Tucson Opera Co., Nevada Opera Co., Utah Opera Co., Salt Lake City Opera, Anchorage Opera, the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Series (Chicago) and the St. Louis Summer Festival in the US. He gave concerts throughout the United States and in parts of Europe.

The fall of 1968, he took a teaching position at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 1970, he joined the faculty of the Brigham Young University Voice Department where he retired in 1985 due to a series of heart attacks and quadruple bypass surgery.

He resided in Mesa, Arizona where he lived out his years near family and friends and to be in the desert that he so loved. His devotion to God and his family coupled with a truly charitable heart is reflected by the great number of people who loved and admired him and were made evident in the splendor of his musical art.

Opera critics acclaimed him as the "Italian tenor with the golden voice" and "one of the great voices of our time." He will be missed by all including a large extended family, friends, students, audiences and admirers of his voice and of his genuine loving personality. To experience a little of Ray yourself, go to

His funeral was held Friday, May 30, 2003 at the L.D.S. Chapel on 1430 N. Grand St., Mesa, AZ. So to our husband, patriarch and maestro, we bid a loving farewell. Until we meet again at Jesus' feet! Published in the Arizona Republic from 5/28/2003 - 5/29/2003.

See Also: Mesa City Cemetery

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