What Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer means to the community was witnessed Friday at Youngstown State where he taught geology.  

300 people showed up for a celebration in his honor. Dr. Ray wasn’t there to see it, though. He’s in a hospital,hanging on, after suffering a heart attack.  

The two poster boards hanging in the lobby of YSU’s Moser Hall told only part of the story of Doctor Ray Beiersdorfer, those in his younger days with wife Susie and not too long ago with his hair, well, longer.

“Ray had a heart attack September 13,” his wife Susie said. “And he said stay here, I’m going to drive myself to the hospital.”

An ambulance did take him and in the hospital, he has been ever since.

“We removed the ventilator tube on Tuesday and so now his heart has continued to beat for 75 hours now,” she said.

Dr. Ray was a geology professor but he was also an environmental activist and a leader of the group pushing to ban fracking in Youngstown.

“Dr. Ray has asked me to ask you to please vote yes on the community bill of rights,” said Randy Younkin.

Robert Dennick Joki runs the Rust Belt Theater and told of Dr. Rays’ reaction of a song about reptilian overlords.

“You know rob that music, it’s really beautiful but the science is all wrong,” Joki said.

But for every laugh, there were tears. Artist Chris Yambar had to compose himself a couple times.

“I didn’t think about our differences. He never made a big deal about our differences either, all I knew was I was losing my friend,” Yambar said.

Dr. Ray’s twin daughters were there and so were faculty and his students.