Dixie Lee Ray
- Category : 1914-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 2
American politician, marine biologist and zoologist, once governor of Washington (State) and who also served as head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. She was known for being eccentric. A major supporter of the nuclear industry, she headed the Atomic Energy Commission from 1973 to 1975. Unpretentious, Ray lived in a motor home during her Washington, D.C. energy commission days, and took her dogs to work. When the AEC was phased out, she was named assistant secretary of state, overseeing the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
She left Washington, D.C. and went on to become Washington (State's) first woman governor, serving a single term from 1977 to 1981. Her "take-no-prisoners" style cost her support, and her popularity plummeted to the point that she failed to win the party's nomination for re-election in 1980.
Born one of five girls and christened Margaret, she was called Dick as a child--short for "that little Dickens." She later re-named herself after a favorite region and Civil War general. At age 12, she was the youngest girl to climb Mt. Rainier, Washington's highest peak, located between Seattle and her Tacoma birthplace. She earned her undergraduate degree at Mills College and received her doctorate in zoology at Stanford University. Before she entered the public arena, she was an associate professor of zoology at the University of Washington for 27 years and director of the Pacific Science Center for nine years.
In 1986, Ray was named a director of American Ecology Corp., a toxic waste management firm in Agoura Hills. In later years, she also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Outspoken against environmentalists, she co-authored two books, "Trashing the Planet," 1990, and "Environmental Overkill," in 1993 with longtime friend Lou Guzzo. She never married.
She died 1/02/1994 in Seattle, having suffered from a severe bronchial condition for several months prior to her death.