Raymond Siever was born in Chicago and earned his B.S. (1943), M.S. (1947), and Ph. D. (1950) degrees at the University of Chicago under the tutelage of Francis Pettijohn. Siever joined the ISGS in 1943 and, after taking leave for service in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1944 to 1947, returned to the Survey during 1947 to 1957. His research interests included coal petrology, subsurface geology, sedimentary petrology, and sedimentology; his special focus was late Paleozoic sandstones. He mapped the subsurface geology of Richland County with Gilbert H. Cady and authored (with Paul E. Potter and Herbert D. Glass) groundbreaking papers on Chesterian and Pennsylvanian sedimentology. Siever's article on the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian unconformity in the Illinois Basin, published in the AAPG Bulletin, won the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' President's Award for best paper by a young geologist in 1951.
On a personal note, Siever loved music and was a skillful pianist. He had a wife, Doris, and two sons.