Raymond Anthony Schum, Marine and former Payson mayor, passed away the morning of April 2 in Palm Springs, Calif., after a short illness. He was 97. Ray was my very best friend here in Payson and he did a lot for our citizens while he was mayor. Ray, a sergeant major in the Marines, served in three wars: World War II, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. Ray enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1940. In 1944, he married Verda Lee Staten who was undergoing nurses training. During the nine years he served overseas, he participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal, mopping up operations on Guam, severe combat operations in Korea, and was part of the contingency forces that were afloat off the coast of Vietnam before direct intervention began. After World War II, he became a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. During his tour at the depot, he became a pitcher for the All Marine Baseball Team and traveled from base to base striking out other Marines. In four years he amassed a 59-11 record. His highlight was pitching in the All Navy World Series in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1949. He occasionally pitched against major league players in exhibition games and was offered a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. But with a wife and child at home he declined to take the Yankees up on that offer. During the Korean War, Schum served in First Battalion, Seventh Marines where he took part in ongoing combat operation. After spending the early part of the early 1960s in Panama, Schum was transferred to Camp Pendleton, Calif. and later Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego where he retired in 1966. Ray and Lee moved to Payson in the late 1980s and Ray became involved in civic affairs. He served on the town council for two years and in 2000 was elected mayor. During his two years as mayor, Ray focused on the building of a new library without raising taxes and bringing new businesses to the area. In 2004, they moved to Cathedral City, Calif. where Ray was involved in establishing a Marines Corps League and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Ray and Lee were married for 66 years until her death in 2010. Four children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive him.
Bill Sahno, Payson