Linda Ray, 74, chooses to wake up every day and “be fabulous.” She started her career as a cosmetologist and after divorcing her first husband, she went back to school to study broadcasting. She and her second husband, Danny, a retired classical ballet dancer, have been married for 26 years and live on Lobdell Lake in Argentine Township. She has two adult sons from her first marriage. She volunteers at Loose Center in Linden, and any place where they need her.
How did you meet Danny?
We met in Hawaii when we were both there for a work conference. I wasn’t supposed to be there; I had taken someone else’s place. He saw me from a distance and said to himself, ‘If there is a God, I’m going to meet this woman and marry her.’ I went to the beach and asked him to go on a helicopter ride with me. He said, ‘There IS a God!’ and I answered ‘I know!’ And now it’s 26 years later. He’s a retired classical ballet dancer who’s 15 years younger than me. Now, he’s selling new cars for a living at a Davison dealership and loves it. Age doesn’t matter to me. I still feel like I’m 35.
What job in your life have you enjoyed the most?
I liked everything I’ve done. My first career was as a hair stylist, mentoring under Evelyn Angel at Point Beauty Academy in downtown Flint. I had the privilege of helping her out before her passing a couple of years ago, so we came full circle.
After I divorced my first husband and had two young sons, I moved back home with my parents and studied broadcasting at Delta College. I loved broadcasting. At ABC-12, I got to produce, write copy, sell airtime and do voice-overs, and won several Addys (American Advertising Awards) for my work.
I was even a Disney employee at one time when the station was bought by Disney back in the ’90s. One of my best memories was giving my tickets away for free to a big family, like the one I came from, when I saw them in line to buy tickets.
What caused you to volunteer for domestic violence issues?
I was emotionally abused in my first marriage. I tried to leave several times and was even kidnapped once by my husband, and he also kidnapped our youngest son once. You have to understand it’s not your fault, but you must take responsibility for not allowing it to continue. Otherwise, you give him permission to keep doing it. Never let fear keep you from protecting yourself, your family, kids and self-esteem. I have volunteered regularly on Sundays at the YWCA Safe House in Flint.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to stay very active. I take fitness classes every day, plus yard work and gardening. I volunteer at Loose, prepping in the kitchen or doing anything else that needs to be done.
Have you ever met anyone famous?
My kids have both made names for themselves in the music business. My one son, Ger Hoffman, plays bass with the Joe Diffie Band in Nashville. My other son, Eric, is a trombone player and “crooner” vocalist in New York City. I met singer Bobby Rydell once.
What is something most people probably don’t know about you?
I do a Marilyn Monroe Tribute for special events, and I’m also writing an autobiography about my life. I’ve won a couple of pageants back in the day — I was Winter Queen in the Michigan Beauty Pageant, doing a song and dance routine. I was also runner-up for Miss Professional Cosmetology. That was a long time ago.