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Raymond J. Kisor Jr.


Raymond J. Kisor Jr., age 77 of Ada, MI went home to the Lord on Monday, November 28, 2022, after a long battle with lung health issues and added complication from recent illness. Ray was born and raised in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of Raymond J Sr., and Wanda Kisor. He was a loving husband to Francesca (Davis) for 43 years, father to Patricia (Frank) Melchert, and adoring grandfather to Frankie, Allison, and John Melchert.

Brought up in Catholic schools and a notable high school football player, Ray played college football at Miami of Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University in 1968. Ray is well-known for his successful, 55-year real estate career which started after college when Shell Oil Company hired him to manage service station leasing operations out of Grand Rapids, MI. Soon after, Ray’s business ventures and partners brought him to Johnstown, PA where he helped develop, own, and operate Richland Mall. After traveling back and forth from Pennsylvania to Michigan, his love for Grand Rapids grew and fostered visions for the future of the city and surrounding communities. This resulted in his involvement of almost every major downtown development including Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus, Gerald R Ford Museum, Medical Mile, and Heartside neighborhood – just to name just a few.

His commitment to his community and unrelenting work ethic placed him on various boards including Downtown Grand Rapids Incorporated, Downtown Alliance, Colliers-West Michigan, Ada Township ZBA, and Mental Health Foundation.  He served as President of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, Commercial Alliance of Realtors, and the State of Michigan’s Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

Ray was named Realtor of the Year on local and state levels and achieved numerous other achievements and awards throughout his career. Ray was part of several real estate companies but one of his proudest achievements, was the founding of Commerce Realty and Management Company.

His passions for the health of our community flourished even more with the facilitation of the Kids’ Food Basket purchase of their 10-acre chemical free farm, where they can now grow hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthy food and teach children where food comes from and why it’s important.

Ray attempted to retire in 2015, but it didn’t last too long. He was back in the real estate game as a principal/owner of PURE Real Estate Brokerage and there he remained, putting together deals, until his very last day.

In the 1980’s, Ray owned and operated Sugar Bush Farm in Ada, raising black angus cattle for 12 years. His prized bulls earned best in show across the country. He took great pride in his daughter’s participation in the local 4-H club and equestrian show jumping competitions. He really enjoyed those years ‘down on the farm.’

He was a big proponent of continuing education and betterment of our younger generation. He and his wife established the Ray and Fran Kisor Graduate Engineering Fellowship at Grand Valley State University to assist students pursuing graduate degrees. His legacy of re-investing in his community will live on through this scholarship for years to come.

Ray was a long-time member at Cascade Hills Country Club. When he wasn’t working, he could be found perfecting his golf game, playing cards with dear friends, betting on Ohio State football games, and above all enjoying time with his family and grandchildren at his beloved cottage on White Lake.

He is survived by his wife Francesca (Davis), daughter Patricia (Frank) Melchert, grandchildren Frankie, Allison, and John Melchert, sisters Antoinette (Ryan) Hale, Sue Kisor, sister-in-law Judith (Davis) Schildroth, brother-in-law Christopher Davis, and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel 3980 Cascade Road SE on Thursday, December 1st from 2-4pm and 6-8pm. Mass of Christian Burial is on Friday, December 2nd at 11am at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Drive.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kids’ Food Basket, 1300 Plymouth, NE Grand Rapids, MI 49505.

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1300 Plymouth, NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49505

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5 Responses

  1. Ray suggested I join Dodgson realty and sold me on downtown Grand Rapid’s future. We worked together for over 25 years and I will miss his jabs and love. Grand Rapids has lost a shinning light!

  2. RayDog – it’s been a pleasure to know, play, and work with you over 16 years, both on the same side and the occasional, ever-“fun” opposite side :-). We did some good things together and I enjoyed your friendship more and more through the years. RIP my friend. ~AV

  3. Grand Rapids has lost another great champion–he will be missed, but his fingerprints will long remain–thank you, Ray!

  4. Ray loved GR and worked tirelessly to build relationships that fueled and sustained its growth during critical periods of development.

    His impact will live on as this city continues to rise on the foundation he helped to build. Thanks be to Ray and to his family who shared him with us all.

  5. I didn’t know Ray very long, but you didn’t need to know Ray very long to learn what mattered to him: family, friends, and the future – making his community a better place to live and raise a family. He never stopped working on his dreams, he rolled up his sleeves and did the work to make them a reality – what a legend…
    Ray will be missed, but his legacy will ensure that Ray ‘s light will continue to shine, and because of him, our world is brighter and better place.
    Thanks, Ray. ????

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Make a Contribution

Memorial Contributions

Kids Food Basket

1300 Plymouth, NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49505