Jay Raymond Greenhill

Mr. J. Raymond Greenhill (Ray) recently came upon photos and newspaper articles covering water ski shows and tournaments that took place in the years 1946 to 1950. He has graciously sent originals and copies of these exciting memories to the American Water Ski Educational Foundation Water Ski Hall of Fame and Museum where they are available for viewing.

Ray Greenhill’s interest in water skiing was the result of his meeting Chuck Sligh, at furniture business meetings, shortly after WWII. As a guest at the Sligh home on Lake Macatawa, near Holland, Michigan, he learned to water ski. As he watched the four Sligh children in action, he knew that water skiing was a family sport. Soon the entire Greenhill family, including his wife and two young sons, was water skiing under the tutelage of the Slighs.

The Greenhill family home was on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis. The family water skied up and down the 15 mile long lake and taught many friends and guests the exciting new sport. As time went on interested spectators observed their antics from the shoreline.

Ray Greenhill was a sponsor and committee member of the 1946 Aquatennial. Lake Calhoun, a hale mile long lake near downtown Minneapolis, was chosen as the site of this big event. Ray thought a water ski show would be spectacular, so he invited Chuck Sligh and the Macatawa Bay water skiers to put on a show. When the Minneapolis Tribune reporters were encouraged to watch the Macatawa skiers and his young sons, Buddy and Bobby, practice for the event, they were so excited that they hired an airplane to photograph the show. Over 100,000 spectators crammed the shores of Lake Calhoun to witness this tremendous exhibition of water skiing. The Greenhills and the Macatawa water skiers then went to Macatawa to compete in the 1946 Water Ski Nationals. Ray sent original photos and newspaper coverage of the big show and the big competition to AWSEF Water Ski Hall of Fame and Museum. Perhaps the Aquatennial water ski show on Lake Calhoun was performed in front of the largest ever live audience!

Later the Greenhill family moved to the Baltimore area. Their family home was again on a lake where they continued to water ski. Ray Greenhill became involved with flying, thanks again to the persuasive powers of Chuck Sligh. This led to a friendship with Dick Pope Sr. and to their family’s water skiing together at Cypress Gardens.

Today, Ray Greenhill lives in California.



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