Sam Ray Jr., age 93, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at his residence.
Sam was born on February 2, 1930, in Avery County, North Carolina, the son of the late Sam Miller Ray and the late Verdie Daniels Ray.
Sam was a graduate of the Citadel and joined the Air Force. He served as a fighter pilot in Korea, flew 124 missions in Vietnam, and retired from the Air Force after finishing his tenure at the Pentagon. Upon returning home to Newland, he became very active in his community. He was a member and Elder of the Newland Presbyterian Church. He served on the board of Trustees for Mayland Community College, member of the Region D Council of Government, and served Avery County as a Commissioner and County Manager. Colonel Ray was very active with the Pat Ray Post of the VFW, where he served as Past Commander and a member of the Post Honor Guard. He enjoyed Duke Basketball and golf. Sam was a longtime member of the Mountain Glen Golf Club and served on the Board of Avery Development Corporation. Working in his yard, picking up sticks, mowing, and burning the remnants of his yard work. He always enjoyed driving and exploring. In his final years, he loved to ride and he was very content being the passenger and seeing things he had not seen in a long time.
He was preceded in death by his Father, Sam Miller Ray, Sr.; Mother, Verdie Mae Ray; Wife, Patsy Ruth Ray; Daughter, Rebecca “Sissy” Ann Ray; Brother, Jim “Goose” Ray.
Sam leaves behind to cherish his memory Son, Sam L (Susan) Ray III; Five grandchildren, Christy Ray, Justin (Britney) Ray, Jordan (Matt) Mesaros, Sam Ray, IV, Brandon Ray; Three great-grandchildren, Ayden Ray, Caleigh Ray, Lachlan Lacey.
Services for Sam Ray Jr. will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at the Newland Presbyterian Church with Rev. Michael McKee officiating. Interment will follow in the Hughes Cemetery on Baxter Hughes Rd in Newland. The family will receive friends from 12:30 until 2:00 pm on Saturday at the church.
The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the wonderful caregivers who took such loving care and were with Sam at his home. The staff of Amorem Hospice for tremendous support and care and to the Colonel’s neighbors and church for their loving support.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Amorem Hospice of the High Country – Capital Campaign 902 Kirkwood St NW Lenoir, NC 28645
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Ray family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Sam and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.