Raymond Paul Eberle
Gifted athlete, college administrator
Ray Eberle of Upland died August 15, 2014 at Silverado Sierra Vista Memory Care Community in Azusa from frontotemporal dementia. He was 73.
He was born in Buffalo, New York on April 27, 1941, the son of Raymond and Genevieve Eberle. He grew up playing all kinds of sports but excelled in baseball and basketball. Indeed, he earned the family nickname of “Mickey,” for his hot bat and beautiful blue eyes. He attended St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute on a sports scholarship during high school and was signed as a “bonus baby” by the Detroit Tigers. Although injuries stopped him from moving up to the majors, he played in the Carolina minor leagues during the 1960s.
After leaving baseball, he attended Buffalo State, SUNY, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education and a master’s degree in secondary education/sociology. He married Grace Ann Vaccaro in 1963 and they had three children, Roxanne, Mark and Rachael. Although their marriage ended in divorce, they remained true friends until Grace’s death.
Mr. Eberle began a career in university administration in 1966 at Buffalo State. He was an advocate for first-generation college students and served as the associate director of the Educational Opportunity Program and later as its acting director. In 1977, he became the assistant vice president for student affairs and the associate director of housing and residence life. Active in the civil rights movements of the 1960s, he believed in the power of education to transform individual lives, and lived his life by that principle.
In 1982, he moved to southern California to become the director of housing at Cal Poly Pomona. He later held a dual position as director of housing and interim director of student life. While at Cal Poly, he developed the club football program and made it into a thriving concern that supported student-athletes in both their studies and their sport.
Mr. Eberle retired in 1991, the same year that he married Valerie Baird, his beloved wife of 23 years. During retirement, he coached softball and football for the Claremont Colleges and the University of La Verne, and worked as a basketball referee at all levels of play. Ray and Valerie always opened up their hearts and home to their children and grandchildren and when Mr. Eberle wasn’t in California, he was back on the East Coast spending time with family. He was an indulgent and loving grandfather, soothing cranky babies (and their parents), playing catch, reading stories and buying everyone ice cream.
Mr. Eberle is survived by his wife, Valerie; by his children, Roxanne Eberle of Athens, Georgia, Mark Eberle of Buffalo, New York and Rachael Eberle Young of Buffalo; and by seven grandchildren, Hannah, Seamus, Bella, Grace, Leila, Sophia and Noah. He also leaves three siblings, Michael Eberle of Lakeside, Paul Eberle of Dayton, Ohio and Margaret (Eberle) Bryenton of Olympia, Washington, as well as five nephews and two nieces.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 23 at 1 p.m. in the Kingman Chapel at the Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 W. Harrison Ave. in Claremont.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ray Eberle Educational Fund, which has been established for the caregivers of Silverado Sierra Vista Memory Care Community. Checks should be made payable to the “Silverado Foundation,” with a memo noting “Ray Eberle Fund, Azusa.” Please send donations to the Silverado Sierra Vista Memory Care Community, Attn: Vida Gwinn, 125 W. Sierra Madre Ave., Azusa, CA 91702.