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Raymond W. Mushal

Died: March 8, 2012

Ray Mushal grew up in the North Branford area and entered Yale in September 1962 after graduating the previous Spring from Wilbur Cross High School. While at Yale Ray majored in political science and lived in Davenport College, playing on several intramural athletic teams. Ray is remembered as a loyal friend and someone who held strong opinions with an ability to defend them articulately and forcefully. Demonstrating traits that helped make him an effective attorney later, Ray was not a man who tolerated fuzzy thinking, and he had an unparalleled talent for getting to the heart of things quickly. Ray was also blessed with a subtle and dry sense of humor, having a deadpan delivery (but unable to hide the twinkle in his eyes).

Upon graduating from Yale in 1966 Ray joined the Army and was commissioned as an officer. His military achievements were exemplary and previewed the remarkable life of service and significant accomplishments that would follow. Serving as an intelligence officer in Vietnam, Ray was acknowledged for his leadership and can-do attitude and was awarded both the Air Medal and a Bronze Star with two clusters. When he left the Army Ray attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania and upon graduation in 1973 was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Attorney General’s Honor Program. Ray joined a small but select group of attorneys specializing in environmental law.

Ray’s contributions to government are near legendary. Not only was he an outstanding litigator, specializing in prosecuting environmental crimes, but he was also a talented administrator. Ray reviewed and drafted environmental crimes legislation and sentencing guidelines, drafted policies, trained federal agents and prosecutors, and created resource materials, including the Environmental Crimes Manual, widely relied upon by federal and state prosecutors to this day. Ray created and taught an environmental crimes course as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School from 1992-2010. In 2008, Ray was awarded the Muskie–Chafee Award by the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, honoring federal employees who have, through their work and dedication, made significant contributions toward protecting our environment.

There is no doubt that, as an attorney, Ray was a formidable opponent, likely feared by anyone (Ray referred to them as “a malignant group of criminals”) who got his attention by harming the environment. He was intelligent, efficient, committed, passionate, and hard-working — a man of integrity. He saw most things as either black or white, right or wrong, and could not be derailed by what others might try to present as gray. Ray had the skill to persuade others to see things his way.

Outside his professional life Ray enjoyed woodworking and gardening, Civil War history, softball, tennis, and hiking. Together with Barbara, his wife and best friend, Ray traveled to the United Kingdom to search out remains of early Roman civilization and tour ancient cathedrals. Ray was especially proud of his role as a parent, always teaching and encouraging his children, Amanda and David, including attending their swim practices sometimes as early as 4:30 a.m., and taking them on vacations to Civil War battlefields.