Elvis lives… and he’s 68

Published 5:06 am Monday, May 19, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
ELKHART, Ind. -- What would Elvis be like -- at 68?
Ray Minix, who graduated from Edwardsburg High School the same year as Elvis and is the same age, mused on this very question -- but took it one step further.
He answered that question for all those who would like to "look though a keyhole" and see Elvis at 68.
Though he has never been to Graceland, Minix has written a one-man show and taken it to the Elco Theatre in Elkhart, Ind., just down the block from his apartment building.
He was given a chance with the play he wrote centering around Elvis, now a janitor, cleaning up after a karaoke contest. In it, Minix ends up revealing his true identity and performing 19 songs during its two acts. Interspersed are stories, trivia of Elvis' life and interaction with the audience.
Minix's relatives flew in from around the country for his debut, but he was well received even by those who didn't know him before, or had sat in one of his classrooms.
During the '60s, Minix taught in Niles, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg. If is students remember him, he hopes some will come see his show and say hi. On Saturday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m., Elvis will live again at the Battell Center Theatre in Mishawaka, Ind.
The mystic of what Elvis would be like, is given credibility by Minix's voice, praised by radio announcer Bill Darwin, who said he could hear Elvis when he closed his eyes.
Not only is this the golden anniversary for Minix's Class of 1953, but he married that summer on June 27 to another graduate, Mary Bigelow, who had been born and raised in Edwardsburg by Jim and Naomi Bigelow. Minix had come to the community in his freshman year.
Now they will celebrate their 50th anniversary in the upstairs of their apartment building, the Cornerstone, where they went to the Athenian Ballroom for their Edwardsburg junior prom.
After graduating from Western Michigan University, Minix became a teacher and coach. "They were really wonderful kids," he recalled. He was at Howard Community in the early 60s. "I would really appreciate if they come to the show," he added. "I would love to see them."
The couple ran the Seven Dwarfs day care in Adamsville and later had several day cares in Florida, where they moved to be near his brother who was then ill.
Other ventures, all of which involved educating our youth, included starting an alternate education high school for problem students and running a residential treatment center for over 40 homeless children on 60 acres in Virginia.
They also raised six children, half of whom stayed in Florida and half live in this area. They have 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.