Ray Neef's friends and family are deeply grateful to have his name attached to Boise's river recreation park. It is an amazingly fitting honor to someone who truly loved the joy of life, water, friends and family. We look forward to seeing his joy once again in the playful water and his spirit in all who will come to enjoy it.
Raymond Lewis Neef (Ray) was born in Boise Idaho in 1965. He attended Highlands Elementary, North Jr. High and Boise High School. He was very active in sports and achieved a state championship in wrestling. He loved the water and was an excellent water-skier spending many days in Donnelly, on Cascade Reservoir, while staying with his grandparents Monte and Mary Jensen. Although he was very lucky to have many friends much of his time was spent in and around the water with his long time love and wife Jacque Smith of Boise, her younger brother Cary Smith D.D.S. Jackson, Wyoming and Ray’s younger brother Danny Neef J.D. of Boise.
Ray was an excellent student but had a certain irrepressible knack for constantly figuring out how to achieve the maximum amount of playtime into every activity. He was a graduate of Whitman College (1983-1987) and then Hahneman College of Medicine in Philadelphia Pennsylvania (1987-1991) where he earned his M.D. After medical school he was selected for residency in orthopedics at the University of Kentucky (1991-1996). In 1996 he was awarded a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Kentucky. Ray had a reassuring manner that worked well with both friends and patients usually beginning with the phrase, “ohh you’ll be fine.” During Ray’s service at the University of Kentucky he received special recognition for patient care. He sutured a toddler’s forehead without even waking the dozing child in his mother’s arms. Ray always felt that people were more important than things, and experiences were true riches in a life time.
Ray was a sincerely devoted father to his daughter Allison Neef. Although Ray could have begun to pursue his career in Boise in 1996, he decided to choose another year at the U.K. due to his daughter’s recent recovery from a life threatening illness. Today, Alli Neef is a graduate of Boise High School and a very successful student at Gonzaga University in Spokane WA. She plans to graduate with a degree in business in 2011.
Although it may seem that Ray was motivated to achieve in his career, his achievements were, in his own words, “another step towards home in Boise.” He was a constant believer that Idaho was simply God’s country.
Ray died March 2nd 1997 while kayaking in Kentucky with Dr. David Caborn, a colleague. Ray’s kayak was pinned and he was unable to escape.