Ray was born March 26, 1940, in Columbus, Georgia. He passed away on June 7, 2009, after a lengthy illness.
As a young man, Ray was a member of the Boy Scouts, where he achieved the rank of Life Scout. He loved football and played football in high school. He was on the rifle team at Florence State University. Ray left college to join the United States Marine Corps. His experience in the Marines affected him greatly and he remained a proud former Marine throughout his life. After leaving the Marines, Ray worked as an air traffic controller as a civilian for the U.S. Army Space & Missile Command in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. During this time, Ray became Chief Divemaster for the Kwajalein Scuba Club. After returning stateside, Ray graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Auburn, Ray was a scuba instructor for the university. Ray was a dedicated Auburn Tigers fan and loved the “War Eagle” battle cry. In his early career, Ray worked as a contractor with Sperry Rand Corp. for NASA. Ray was an inventor and was awarded two U.S. patents for NASA, U.S. Pat. No. 3,907,312 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,922,930. After this time, Ray began an engineering career with Corning and lived with his family in Wellsboro, Pa., and in Gautier, Miss. Ray loved life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he enjoyed his past-times of golfing and deep sea fishing. Ray eventually moved his family to Brownwood, Texas, where he was the Manager of Engineering for Superior Corp. He remained in Brownwood for 10 years and was a dedicated company man. In his later career, Ray moved to the corporate offices of Superior Essex in Atlanta, Ga., where he retired after more than 20 years of service with the company. Ray actively volunteered in the Jaycees, the Lions Club, and other organizations. He also enjoyed playing handball and was an avid player until retirement. After retiring, Ray and his wife settled in Rock Island, Tenn., where he spent his final years enjoying the Rocky River and fishing and golfing.
Ray is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marylou Marlow of Rock Island, Tenn.; daughter, Ellen Berklite and husband David Berklite of Pittsburgh, Pa., and their sons Sam and Louis; daughter, Leslie Marlow of Austin, Texas, and children Sky, Jeremy and Anthony; sister, Reba Tidwell and husband Larry Tidwell of McMinnville, Tenn.; sister, Barbara Fletcher of McMinnville, Tenn.; brother, Bradley Fields of Knoxville, Tenn.; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Services were held on Saturday, June 13, 2009, at 3 p.m. at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in McMinnville, Tenn. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Ray’s name to St. Matthews Episcopal Church, 105 Edgewood Ave., McMinnville, TN 37110. Arrangements by High Funeral Home, McMinnville, Tenn. (931) 473-2137.