News – 10 April 2015
Vale Ray Dahlitz
Raymond Alfred Dahlitz (1926–2015)
Ray Dahlitz played a key role in organising the meeting that set up the Humanist Society of Victoria on 1961. This inaugural meeting was sponsored by the Rationalist Society of Victoria (RSV) and Melbourne Unitarians.
When an unsuccessful attempt was made to develop a closer liaison between the RSV and the HSV in the late 1980s, Ray renewed his involvement with the HSV by joining and becoming an active member. In 1993 he became an HSV committee member, serving as Vice-president in 1993 then as President 1994-96. This was a time of growth for the HSV, a tribute to Ray’s enthusiastic and energetic leadership. For many years Ray organised an impressive list of guest lecturers for the HSV monthly meetings, wrote many articles for the Australian Humanist and Victorian Humanist, represented the HSV on radio, in the local press and at Parliamentary inquiries. He attended most CAHS Conventions during this period either as a delegate or as CAHS President (1997–2000). He remained an active HSV committee member until 2005, when in his 80th year he considered his place would be better filled by someone younger.
Ray also spent several years gathering material on the history of secularists in Australia. This was published in 1992 in a Secular Who’s Who. This ground-breaking book collects between two covers a comprehensive listing of hundreds of secularists, freethinkers, rationalists, atheists and humanists from the 1850s to the late twentieth century. He continued to amass additional material for a subsequent edition.
Sadly Ray was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. Rosslyn cared for him at home until managing his needs became too much and he moved into a high care nursing home in 2011. He is survived by partner Rosslyn, daughters Karen and Meryl and five grandchildren.
Report by Rosslyn Ives