Ray, as everyone knew my father, passed away December 24, 2009 from complications to a long term illness of Alzheimer?s disease.
While landing on the moon was the biggest headlines of 1969, Ray was busy working in his basement on an invention that has changed the way people are sharpening their knives even today. His frustration with trying to get a good sharp edge on his broadheads and knives led him on a path to develop the very first clamp on, guided sharpener for knives. This invention gave the average person the ability to sharpen a knife with professional precision, at a very affordable low cost.
His first Broadhead sharpener, was made out of wood and he used only a file. This may sound like a crude way of putting an edge on a blade, but being able to maintain an exact angle with every stroke made this device work very effectively. Later as fellow hunters saw how easy Ray was sharpening his broadheads and knives, and they of coarse(sic) all wanted the device to keep their blades sharp too! This ultimately guided Ray to the basic design of the, "Clamp on, Guided" type of Knife sharpener which is being duplicated and sold all over the world today.
In the beginning the company Ray formed was simply known as, Broadhead Sharpeners. Ray experimented with many ideas for a catchier name for his newly founded company. His ideas kept leading Ray's thought back to the one person he has loved and remained married to for over 59 years. He decided to use the first part of his loving wife?s' name and combined it with his name creating "LoRay Sharpeners." This inspiration helped push forward the dedication needed to work a full time job and find the time to get a newly designed sharpener into the hands of anyone needing to sharpen a knife. With his new logo Ray set out next to bring his new invention to the rest of the world and help everyone to get a truly sharp edge on every kni The ads started out in the classified add section first, after receiving many inquiries about his claim that any person could get a professional edge on their knives using his sharpening device, Ray expanded his advertising. His original ads were all hand drawn by Ray and very simple in design, but this was enough to get his business off the ground. From there he was able to relinquish his commitment to the heating and air conditioning job and formed his own business, "LoRay Inc."
Ray had no upper education and was a very simple family man. He worked many, many hours keeping people cool in the summer and warm in the winter, installing and servicing heating and air conditioner units. Discovering an idea that really worked and having the drive to bring that idea to others turned into a profitable business and was supported by his family for many years. Ray invested his life and sacrificed many hours away from his family and endured many hardships while creating a company that many people tried to convince Ray would never get off the ground. Even after retirement, he continued to perfect his sharpeners and carried several with him at all times for anyone needing help getting a knife sharpened.
Howard Ray Longbrake dedicated his life to a supportive and loving family. His ability of creating a business from nothing was a testimony to him and an encouragement to everyone who knew him. To anyone wanting to know how to sharpen their knives Ray was more than willing to spend the time explaining how to get the perfect edge on any knife. Surprisingly enough in between all his working ethics, Ray was still able to find the time to go Square dancing every week with his wife, build and fly his gyro-copters, and still take his family on camping trips at places very few people would ever consider, in an old, old ford van Ray turned into a camper, (sorry but the explanation of the camping trips is a book all in its self).
To Howard Ray Longbrake we honor you.