Ray Silverman, family patriarch, philanthropist and one of the founders of Scottsdale's thriving tourism industry, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 94.
An accountant from Iowa looking to move to a warmer climate, Silverman bought the 12-kitchenette unit Paradise Valley Guest Ranch at Scottsdale and Chaparral roads in 1953 and built it into the elegant 311-room Chaparral Suites Resort and Conference Center.
"He felt Scottsdale was special," said his son Tom Silverman. "There were only 2,000 people here then, but he had a vision."
Son Tom and daughter Carole have been managing the family-owned hotel for some time, but Ray remained an active president of the family business well into this millennium, greeting guests and seeing to their needs daily.
Silverman had a heart for Scottsdale's special needs, too.
For half a century he donated time, money, meeting space and support to everything from the Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club to nursing programs at Scottsdale Community College to Vista del Camino, the city's social services agency, to the Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services program.
"He loved Scottsdale, loved living here, loved the people and loved the lifestyle," Tom Silverman said. "And he loved giving back to the community."
Rick Kidder, president of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, said the longtime hotelier was "one of those rare people who practiced what he preached."
"In losing Ray, Scottsdale lost one of its lions," Kidder said.
Survivors include sons Tom and Richard, who is general manager of Salt River Project, daughter Carole, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Chaparral Suites, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ray Silverman Nursing Education Endowment, c/o Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation, 10001 N. 92nd St., Suite 121, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.