Ray was born in Mankato, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1908 and Harvard Law School in 1911. He practiced law and was an assistant trust officer for the Wells-Dickey Trust Company in Minneapolis.
He joined the United States Army for World War I, serving first as a first lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and then an assistant to the special representative of Secretary of War Newton D. Baker during post-war armistice discussions with Allied governments. In 1920 he was presented with the Order of the Crown of Italy for his work with the Italian government.
Ray moved to Dongan Hills, New York in 1923 and continued to practice law. In 1937 Ray became vice president and general counsel for Western Electric and in 1942 he was promoted to vice president and general counsel of American Telephone & Telegraph Company, a position he held until retiring in 1951.
Ray was elected to Congress in 1952. He was reelected four times and served from January 3, 1953 until January 3, 1963 (the 83rd, 84th, 85th, 86th, and 87th Congresses). Ray voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1960, but voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While in the House he was appointed to the Merchant Marine and Judiciary Committees. He sought to give tax breaks to firms purchasing anti-pollution equipment and the establishment of tax free pensions. In addition, Ray served as legal adviser to then-Congressman Ford when he was a member of the Warren Commission.
In retirement Ray resided in Staten Island, where he died May 21, 1975. He was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.
- United States Congress. "John H. Ray (id: R000077)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- John H. Ray at Find a Grave
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th congressional district
Hugh L. Carey