Cover photo for James Ray's Obituary
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1929 James 2023

James Ray

April 2, 1929 — August 3, 2023

James H. (Jim) Ray, of Irvington, VA, formerly of Urbanna, passed away Thursday, August 3, 2023, surrounded by his family. Jim was born on April 2, 1929, to John and Ruth Ray, in Goldsboro NC. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Jewel Ray, daughters Lynne Robinson (Randy) of Chesapeake, Betsy Cobb (West) of Richmond, Phyllis Garcia of Martinsburg, WV, and Susan Silver of Urbanna. Jim, also known affectionately as “Bicky” , is also survived by grandchildren Will Robinson (Hilary) of Richmond, Sarah Sawyer (Brad) of Suffolk and Westray Cobb of Goochland, and great grandchildren Boyd Robinson, Claire Robinson, Kyle Sawyer and Luke Sawyer. Jim was predeceased by his parents, and sons in law, Michael Garcia and Chic Silver.

Jim was a gracious southern gentleman, known for his “twinkling blue eyes”, kindness, sense of humor, and diplomacy. He was a second father, role model, and mentor to his sons in law, and others, who loved him and admired his character. Jim was the absolute best father any daughter could wish for. His steadfast love and quiet guidance were always apparent.

Jim was a gifted craftsman, and he and his right hand Jewel renovated over 10 homes throughout their time living in Crewe, VA, Urbanna, or Williamsport, PA. His folding ruler was never far from his side.

Jim had a long career in Sales Management with the Sprout Waldron division of Koppers Company, in Muncy, PA where he began at a young age as an apprentice in the grain processing equipment industry. During his career there, Jim served two terms as President of the Grain Processing Machinery Manufacturers Association. Jim and Jewel moved from Crewe to Urbanna in 1964, then to Williamsport, and back to Urbanna in 1985, where Jim started his own business, AI Associates. Jim was a man of deep, quiet faith, teaching Sunday School at Crewe Methodist Church, as he modeled for his young daughters the character that would shape their lives. In Crewe, he also served as Master of Masonic Lodge #123. More recently he was an active member of Christ Church Parish (Middlesex) where he served on the vestry. He also served Middlesex County on the Wetlands Board and Board of Zoning Appeals. In addition to his innumerable design, renovation, and building projects, Jim enjoyed piloting his airplane and boating and fishing in the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay, aboard “Gems and Jewels”. A highlight of his year was roasting oysters for family and friends after the Urbanna Oyster Festival Parade.

The Ray family deeply appreciates the loving care Jim received from the staff at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury and Hospice of Virginia. A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at 2:00 pm at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, 132 Lancaster Drive, Irvington, VA. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Christ Church Parish, PO Box 476, Saluda, VA, 23149 or The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research , PO Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741
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