Reza “Ray” Marefat, 80, Hays, died Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Hays.

He was born Aug. 30, 1938, in Saveh, Iran. He came to the U.S. in 1960 for work and school. He attended Highland Community College in Coffeyville and Pittsburg. He graduated with a bachelor’s in math from Fort Hays State University in 1969, then continued on to the University of Oklahoma for a bachelor’s in chemical engineering followed by a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from Ohio State – Columbus.

He enjoyed reading books and was always reading.

He returned to Iran in 1973 to work for the National Oil Company of Iran until the revolution of 1979. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1986, he opened Maxim’s Restaurant in Hays until his retirement in 1996.

His commitment to education was passed along to his children. His daughter is a graduate of FHSU, and received a master’s at UCSF and is now on staff at UCSF Medical Center. His son also graduated from FHSU and is a KU Medical graduate practicing ophthalmology in Topeka.

Survivors include his his wife, Mary Marefat; a son, Babak Marefat; a daughter, Simin Marefa and husband, Kreg Rotthoff; and a grandson, Kai Rotthoff.

In lieu of flowers you can donate to the following organizations who advocate for literacy: World Literacy Foundation or

Services will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 28, at 1St floor conference room of the Hadley Center, 205 E. 7th, Hays, KS 67601.

Cremation entrusted to Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory 2509 Vine Hays, KS 67601. Condolences may be left online at or by email at