Jerry Lenn Ray, also known as Daddy or Paw Paw, went home to be with Jesus on November 10, 2019. He and his big smile were brought into this world on December 1, 1940 in Jerome, Arkansas, by his mother, Odie Hillman Ray, and father, John Thomas Ray, both deceased. Funeral services were held Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 11 A.M., at Washington Street United Methodist Church. The Rev. Charlie Newman officiated and burial followed in Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery with Chapman Funeral Home directing. Daddy had four siblings: Dee Ray (Caswell), Roxie Ray (Kovac), Porter Ray, and his late brother Calvin Ray. He attended Eudora High School where he was quarterback for the football team and graduated Valedictorian in 1958. Daddy studied engineering at Louisiana Tech University and ran track, breaking multiple state records for running hurdles. After spending two years at Louisiana Tech University, he made the decision to serve his country in the United States Air Force where he studied communications. He loved his family and country. In the fall of 1965, he met the love of his life, a beautiful lady, Maggie Weathers, on a blind date. On February 12, 1966, Jerry and Maggie were married at Calvary Baptist Church in Eufaula. After living in multiple cities across the country, they returned to Eufaula and planted deep roots. They had two daughters, Debbie Ray (Thrash) and Holly Ray (O'Dell). Debbie and her husband Ted Thrash blessed Paw Paw with three grandchildren, Baker, Calvin, and Anna Grace Thrash, all now adults. Holly and her husband, Jonathan O'Dell gave Paw Paw a fourth dear grandchild, Joseph O'Dell. All four grandchildren were adored by Paw Paw, and they spent lots of quality time laughing and playing together. No matter what they were doing, there was always a big smile on Paw Paw's face. We always knew Daddy loved us. As an active member of Washington Street United Methodist Church in Eufaula for many years, he was past Chairman of the Trustees, taught Sunday School, and did various around the church with his usual smile. With a sincere servant's heart and desire to put others above himself, he not only devoted much of his time ministering at church. Daddy worked any job necessary to take care of his family. He was a regional manager for Collier's Encyclopedias during his early years of marriage. He also worked as a foreman for Harbison Walker Refractories in Eufaula for more than twenty years as well as Mineral Manufacturing for nineteen years. He worked various other jobs throughout his life including selling cars, driving an 18-wheeler, and growing and selling plants. Daddy was kind, gentle, loving, generous, while never meeting a stranger. Most importantly, he shared the love of Jesus. We smile and laugh when we think about Daddy because he always had a joke or story to tell. He was certainly a jokester, even until his last breath. After a cardiac arrest on November 7, the paramedics persevered in resuscitating him and rushed him by ambulance to Barbour County Hospital then to Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan to room 444 in the Critical Care Unit. Family and friends were able to talk to him, sing to him, hug him, hold his hands, and pray for him. Many family members formed a circle around him on Sunday afternoon and sang "Amazing Grace." Later that day, at 4:44 pm in room 444, Daddy took his last breath. He was smiling on us at that very moment. It was his way of telling us that it was his time to let go and everything is going to be ok. He is in heaven with his sweet Jesus. We will see Daddy again someday. We thank all our family and friends, who prayed for us and came to visit Daddy. We are extremely grateful for the compassionate and loving care that the doctors and nurses at Southeast Alabama Medical Center showed Daddy. But, most importantly, we thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus, for walking with us through this difficult time of great loss and giving us hope, peace, and comfort. Although we will all miss him greatly, we celebrate Daddy's legacy, and he will live on in our memories and our hearts. Until we see you again, we will be strong and make you proud. We love you, Daddy.
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