Ray Norman Nitzsche, 70, of Chillicothe, died March 12, 2015 in Peoria.
Ray was born on Sept. 23, 1944, in Walsh, son of the late Otis Wilsey and Gladys Frances Nitzsche, nee Wesbecher.
He married Mitze Ann DeRousse on Aug. 26, 1966.
Ray graduated from the University of Illinois with a PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (Engineering). He worked for both Caterpillar and Whirlpool and was a professor at the University of Missouri and St. Louis University. Ray was a naturalist. He enjoyed woodworking and developed and ran his own peach orchard for several years.
Surviving are his wife, Mitze; his daughters, Valerie (Dan) Wiest of Sparland, and Amy Popp of Peoria; and four grandchildren, Cordelia and Katherine Wiest and Riley and Miranda Popp. Also surviving are his brother, Allen (Marge) Nitzsche of College Mound, Mo., and sister-in-law, Janet Nitzsche of Tallahassee, Fla.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Wayne.
Cremation rites will be accorded and a memorial service will take place at 1:30 p.m. March 21 at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Peoria.
Memorials may be made to Gift of Hope or Heartlands Conservancy.