Samuel E Ray was born to Miles McDuffie and Gertrude Moore Ray at their home in Mills River, NC, June 27 or 28, 1935, with the actual date he reported depending on his mood and who he was reporting to.
He grew up hunting most days on the tract of land his parents cared for now known as High Vista Country Club and the adjacent Pisgah National Forest, where he knew all the trails like the back of his hand. Sam graduated from Warren Wilson where he played soccer and baseball while working the farm for his tuition. He entered the Army following graduation. In the Army, new recruit Samuel Eonly Ray (be careful what you say when you enlist) first served in the Lebanon Crisis in 1958, completing his military service in Germany, where he played soccer for the Army in the local soccer league. He returned to Mills River and trained as a plumber, then became a pipefitter and boilermaker. He was rapidly promoted to Project Engineer traveling the world to repair steam generation units ranging from small fossil fuel paper mills to nuclear powered utility plants. He was most proud of his service as a Mason and Shriner known by many for his annual collection of “donations” (maybe sometimes with a little arm twisting) to support the Shriner’s Childrens Hospital in Greenville, SC, where he was also one of the patient’s favorite clowns. Sam was a member of First United Methodist Church in Hendersonville and come Christmas could be found de-boning 60 – 100 hams and “whooping” hundreds of pounds of “taters” for The Bounty of Bethlehem to feed all who lined up for a holiday meal . He was the proud and beloved husband of Regina for 54 years, exceptionally loving stepfather to his sometimes difficult stepsons Mark and Michael White and treasured grandfather of Glenavin and his namesake “little” Sam. He was connected at the hip to his dog Martha, who loved to travel around town in his Suburban. Sam passed quietly in his sleep following a brief acute illness Friday morning January 10, 2020.
A graveside service will be held Sunday January 12, 2020 at 4:00 PM at Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville.
Please consider donations to : Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, 950 W Faris Rd, Greenville, SC 29605 to honor his dedication in lieu of flowers.
Condolence cards may be sent to the family at www.jacksonfuneralservicesor PO Box
945, Hendersonville, NC 28793.