Ruth Levy Raymond

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Date of Birth : October 29 1930
Deceased : December 23 2014

Biography Ruth Levy Raymond

Ruth  Levy Raymond was born October 29 1930 in New York, New York. She grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and attended the Minneapolis Institute of Art. There she met her future husband,  Louis (Lou) Levy, a jazz pianist from Chicago, Illinois.  In 1955, they divorced and Ruth began pursuing dual careers as an artist and race car driver. Both with a good part of succes. Ruth Levy Raymond purchased a Porsche Speedster with the financial support of a sponsor.  She moved to California together with her 2 daughters.

She raced successfully in the United States, most notably at Willow Springs, Paramount and Riverside. She even participated in international races,  in the Bahamas and Caracas, Venezuela. A chance meeting with Carroll Shelby at an early race was a turning point for her. William Edgar, who watched both ladies race in the 1950s and whose father John Edgar sponsored Ruth, wrote of it in the September 2005 issue of Excellence:

Ruth Levy Raymond (Picture : Pete Vanlaw )
Ruth Levy Raymond

“Shel told me, ‘John (Edgar)’s looking for a woman driver to fill in the pack.’ It was like they absorbed me. For the first time, I felt accepted as a person, not just because I drove.” She likens the evolutionary scene at Willow to something out of a weird movie. “I knew then I was going to be in a good car on the start line of men’s races.”

In her first race for John Edgar she drove a 550 Spyder in the rain at Pomona and beat Mary Davis’ TR2 by over a minute in the 16-mile event. She had arrived. After that, she drove against both men and women in Ferraris, Porsches, Astons and more in a driving career few could match at a time that was like no other.

After she stopped racing in 1964, Ruth Levy Raymonds passion for speed and fast cars couldn’t be stopped. One of her exploits was that she was doubling for Shelley Fabares in the 1966 Elvis Presley movie “Spinout” as a stunt driver.

Ruth then turned her energies full time to her career as an artist, producing oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, holding successful one-woman shows in Southern California and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In the 1980s, she had the unique opportunity to study the art of pin striping under the auspices of the master himself, Kenneth Robert Howard (aka Von Dutch).

In addition to her artistic and racing talents, Ruth was also a singer (for a time a chanteuse at The Horn in Santa Monica) and a writer. After her children became independent, she moved for a time to Pagosa Springs, Colorado and also spent several years living with her husband, Wayne Raymond, in Fredericksburg, Texas. She led a colorful life, full of adventure and guided by a pioneering spirit. At the time of her death she was working on her autobiography.