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NO. R-88. JOINT RESOLUTION in memory of former Supreme Court Justice F. Ray Keyser.

(J.R.S. 40)

Offered by: Senator Ide of Caledonia County, Senator Bloomer of Rutland County, Senator Corrow of Orange County and Senator Crowley of Rutland County.

Whereas, F. Ray Keyser, although he was born across the Connecticut River in Woodsville, New Hampshire, was truly one of the 20th century’s most respected Vermonters, and

Whereas, in a life that spanned over three different centuries, he served in all three branches of state government and many municipal positions, and

Whereas, although he did not initially plan to practice law, F. Ray Keyser devoted over six decades to a most distinguished legal career, and

Whereas, following attendance at Norwich University, honorable military service during World War I, and brief stints as a banker and teacher, he selected the law as his true vocational calling, and in 1929, the future justice was admitted to the Vermont Bar, and

Whereas, while in private legal practice, F. Ray Keyser also served the town of Chelsea in many elected and appointed positions, including school director, selectboard member, moderator, auditor, tax collector, municipal attorney and as a member of the Chelsea Fire District 1 Prudential Committee, and

Whereas, in the legislative branch of state government, he represented the town of Chelsea in the House of Representatives, and

Whereas, F. Ray Keyser’s executive branch tenure included election as Orange County State’s Attorney and appointment as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs during the administration of Governor Lee Emerson, and

Whereas, during World War II, F. Ray Keyser temporarily left Vermont to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for the federal Office of Price Administration, and

Whereas, his judicial service began in 1956 when he was appointed to the Vermont Superior Court bench, and in 1964, after demonstrating his exemplary judicial temperament and decision-making ability, F. Ray Keyser was appointed a justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, and

Whereas, Justice F. Ray Keyser sat on the Vermont Supreme Court bench until 1974, when a newly-adopted constitutional amendment required him to retire, and

Whereas, despite this impediment to the justice’s continuing his full-time judicial duties, Justice Keyser became an extraordinarily active retiree, regularly deciding cases on special assignment from the Vermont Judicial System until the dawn of his 10th decade, and

Whereas, Justice Keyser’s abiding passion for baseball was manifested by his role as a catcher for the Chelsea town team, as a local umpire, and as a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, and

Whereas, he was married for over half a century to his wife Ellen, and they were the parents of a son, former Governor F. Ray Keyser Jr. and a daughter Natalie, and

Whereas, after Justice Keyser’s first wife’s passing, he was married for 21 years to Ruby Keyser, and

Whereas, he was the grandfather of six grandchildren and the great-grandfather of nine great-grandchildren, and

Whereas, with his passing, one of Vermont’s truly great jurists has left our midst, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly extends its most sincere condolences to the members of the late Justice F. Ray Keyser’s family, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to former Governor F. Ray Keyser Jr. in Proctor and to Natalie Keyser Niles in Concord, Massachusetts.