Monday, May 28, 2007

{genealogy} Ray Derham

On this Memorial Day, I would like to introduce you to my great-great-uncle, Ray Derham. He was born on September 3, 1888 to Charles Henry Derham and Mary Ann Burbridge. He had 7 brothers and sisters who later changed the spelling of their name to “Durham”. Ray was the only one who steadfastly stuck to the original English spelling.

The Derham family lived in Corunna, Michigan.

Ray served in the US Army during both world wars. He was a first lieutenant in the infantry in WWI, and participated in the "Polar Bear Expedition" of 1918-19, which was the American intervention in Northern Russia at the end of the war.

When the war was over he returned to Michigan to his wife, Reva. He practiced law and was a well-known attorney in the area. In January of 1929, he sued one W.H. Marolf for libel…and the jury awarded Ray a total of 6 cents. I assume Ray represented himself in the trial…I hope the outcome wasn’t typical of all of his cases.

He served as a member of the Michigan state senate in 1933-34. During that time, the governor adopted a pension plan that Ray had written.

During WWII, Ray returned to the Army and served as a Lt. Colonel during an African campaign in 1943.

After the war, he again returned to Reva in Michigan.

Ray passed away in Michigan on November 27, 1957 and was buried in the family cemetery.

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