James L. Ray Jr.
James L. Ray Jr.
“Big Jim” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, James L. Ray Jr., age 88, passed from this life on Feb. 8, 2013. A believer in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He referred many times to his “Amazing Family,” acknowledging it has been by grace given to him by the Lord God Almighty.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Vivian Wood Ray; sons, James L. Ray III (Charlene), John Gary Ray (Linda) and Mark G. Ray (Jennifer); granddaughters, Ashley Caldwell (Eric), Jennifer Collins (Korey), Melanie King (Jim), Aubrey Hocutt (William), and Andrea Ray; grandson, James Zachary Ray; great- grandsons, Charlie Caldwell, Jack Henry Caldwell, Carson Collins, Dalton King, Peyton King, Braxton King, John Harris Hocutt, and Thomas Hocutt; great-granddaughters Vivian Hocutt and Stella James Caldwell due next month; and a host of family and friends.
Jim was born on July 3, 1924, in New Haven, Ky., his family moving to Columbiana, where he attended SCHS for his senior year, meeting, and shortly out of High School marrying, his sweetheart Vivian Wood.
He was (and claimed always will be!) a Marine, joining right out of high school, and served in WWII in the Pacific Theatre from New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, New Guinea, Philippine Islands of Luzon and Mindanao.
He returned home to settle down and start a family, attending Alabama Highway Department Schools and UAB at night, acquiring professional licenses in the fields of civil engineering and land surveying. He worked for Shelby County from 1947 to retirement in 1980, the last 25 years serving as county engineer/director of public works.
He was recognized locally and nationally as being one of the very best in his profession, collecting awards including National County Engineer of the Year Award. He was a member of various professional organizations and held a number of positions within those organizations, giving presentations throughout the state and nation relative to how highway and bridge needs were being addressed under his leadership. Engineers from across Alabama, the nation and some foreign countries visited Shelby County to learn the methodologies of what he was doing.
The family wishes to thank all the staffs at Columbiana Health and Rehab, and the VA Homes in Alexander City and Pell City for the special loving 24/7 care given to Dad since his stroke 15 months ago.
Funeral is 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, the family will receive friends 9:30-11 a.m., all at First Baptist Church of Columbiana with Reverend Michael Miller officiating. Burial will follow at Pinelawn Gardens.
In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to First Baptist Church of Columbiana building fund. Bolton Funeral Home, Columbiana is directing.