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ND trustee, benefactor Siegfried dies at 62

Maddie Hanna | Friday, October 7, 2005

Raymond Siegfried II, a University benefactor and member of the Board of Trustees widely known for his passion for Notre Dame, died Thursday in Tulsa, Okla. He was 62.

Siegfried was a 1965 Notre Dame graduate whose family served as benefactors of Siegfried Hall, underwrote the Siegfried Building in the Mendoza College of Business and established the Ray and Milann Siegfried Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, a position now held by Dean of the Mendoza College of Business Carolyn Woo.

Siegfried suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“The Notre Dame family today lost one of its most cherished members, a man whose wisdom, leadership and generosity will be felt on this campus for all time,” University President Father John Jenkins said in a statement. “We will miss his warm friendship and will be inspired by the courage he showed while tested by medical challenges in the past few years. Along with our prayers, our deepest sympathy goes to Milann, his wife, and all the Siegfried family.”

Senior resident assistant and former Siegfried Hall president Dan Carey, who met Siegfried twice, described him as “an all-around great guy.”

“He had several loves in his life and they’ve become apparent,” Carey said. “First, his family and his kids. He was a great family man and had a great love for his wife.”

His second great love, Carey said, was Notre Dame.

“His father was also an alum here and this place means the world to him,” Carey said. “He was still active on the Board of Trustees until the day he died.”

This active role in the University and in campus life was a constant for Siegfried, who Carey said had a strong connection to Siegfried residents and the dorm’s community.

“Even through his personal struggles he still took the time to come out and meet the guys,” Carey said. “He always went out of the way to make it feel like you lived in the best place on campus.”

Carey never actually spoke with Siegfried due to the severity of his ALS.

“The first time I met him, he was able to mumble maybe a thank you,” Carey said.

But this inability to speak didn’t stop Siegfried from communicating with the men of the hall that bears his name.

“Since then he has spoken to the guys in the dorm through letters,” Carey said. “He has this technology, this computer on his wheelchair” that allows him to write.

Siegfried also connected with students through his regular presence at Siegfried interhall sports games.

“These last two years his ALS got really bad … but he would still come with the family and watch the interhall football games,” Carey said.

Siegfried rector Father John Conley said Siegfried, who attended interhall baseball games as well and until recently hosted annual dinners for Siegfried residents, truly cared about the dorm.

“I think he took a great deal of pleasure knowing that the family name was associated with a dormitory on campus because of what residence halls mean to Notre Dame students,” Conley said. “He took special pride in having a residence hall bear the family name … it’s not the same as someone taking two graduate classes in Mendoza and seeing the Siegfried name on a plaque on the wall.”

Carey recalled a “little initiation” Siegfried gave to incoming Siegfried freshmen in front of Main Building.

“[ALS] had already started to take a toll on his body, but he has addressed the freshmen the last two years,” Carey said. “This year his son Terrell [a second year Notre Dame law student] read that on behalf of his father.”

Siegfried was chairman of the board of the NORDAM Group, an international aerospace manufacturer. He received an honorary doctor of law degree from Notre Dame in May 1995.

For the last four years, Conley said Siegfried Hall has donated all funds raised from its signature spring event, the Rambler Scrambler, to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association in Siegfried’s honor.

“I believe the family is also going to designate some additional charities,” Conley said.

After Siegfried Hall won the interhall football title two years ago, a game that Siegfried attended, Carey said the dorm took an extra step to thank the “avid sports fan” for his support.

Following the game, the dorm contacted Joe Montana and arranged for Montana to meet up with the team.

“We basically took a big panoramic picture of the Ramblers and Joe,” Carey said. “We got a football signed.”

The dorm then sent the picture and football along with a Siegfried Hall jersey with a “big No. 1 on it” to Siegfried as a Christmas present, Carey said.

Siegfried is survived by wife Milann and children Tray, Hastings, Meredith, Milannie, Terrell and Bailey.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, followed by the Rite of Committal in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

At 4 p.m. the University will hold a reception with the Siegfried family in the atrium and Siegfried Building of the Mendoza College of Business. All friends of the family are invited to attend.

Kate Antonacci contributed to this report