Ed Ray Jr.
HENDERSONVILLE - Edgar "Eddie" Arlo Ray Jr., formerly of Shelby, passed away in Hendersonville in the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, from complications following a surgery. Eddie was born in Charlotte at Presbyterian Hospital on Aug. 21, 1931, to Ed Sr. and Ethel Jane Falls Ray. He went to the Wilmore School and graduated from Central High School in Charlotte in 1949. He spent his Freshman year at UNC Chapel Hill, but, as he put it, due to "lackluster academic performance," was not invited to return for his Sophomore year. He quickly sprang into action to formulate a "Plan B" as he knew not attending college was not an option. With the help of a dear friend, he enrolled himself in The Citadel where he knew he would be forced to adapt to a "more disciplined lifestyle." It worked! He finished two successful years there, followed by a stint in the US Air Force. Afterward he attended the University of Georgia, where he graduated in June, 1957, with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. He went to work for Ford Motor Company and thus began a long successful career in the automotive and RV industry working for Winnebago, Saab, BMW, and Iveco. He loved anything with a motor in it! In October, 1959, he met Laura Jeanette Bonar at the wedding of a good friend. He was immediately smitten with her, and worked for months to get a date with her. His persistence paid off, as she fell for him, and gave up her career as a Stewardess for Eastern Airlines to become his cherished wife on August 20, 1960. She preceded him in death on November 25, 2001. Together, they had two children, Mark Stuart Ray (Nancy Pew) of Hendersonville, and Kelly Ray Terry (Mark) of Southern Pines and Charlotte. He was also blessed with two Grandchildren, Tyler Walker Ray of Hendersonville and Ashley Ray Kerns (Clay) of Kings Mountain. He is also survived by his beloved younger sister, Joyce Ray McArthur (John) of Charlotte, numerous sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews in NC, WV, PA and FL. He is also survived by his very special friend, Sue Ledford Lutz of Shelby, NC, who was a wonderful companion to him. Numerous friends from the Ford Retirement group also enjoyed decades of friendship with Eddie. He was a former member of El Bethel United Methodist Church and later joined First Congregational Church in Hendersonville. Dad lived life to the absolute fullest. He never met a stranger, was always ready to laugh, socialize and travel at a moment's notice. He always had a glass-half-full attitude, and encouraged everyone he knew to do all they could in life to enjoy everything they possibly could. He made the most of his glorious 85 years, and still worked 4 days a week at Enterprise Rentals in Hendersonville. He loved meeting the customers, and taking care of them in their time of need. He was truly a Southern Gentleman, and will always be remembered that way by so many. Memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in the chapel of Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory with the Rev. Bruce Hobson officiating, with a reception to follow. The family will receive friends on Friday, October 21, 2016 from 6 until 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorial can be made to: Blue Ridge Honor Flight, 423 N. King Street, Hendersonville NC 28792 www.blueridgehonorflight.com. Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Mr. Ray. Guest registry is available at www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com
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