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J.W. Ray service 7-25-12


J.W. Ray

John Wesley Ray of Savannah died in his home at the age of 85.

J.W., as he was affectionately known, leaves a daughter Vicki Alston, also of Savannah, along with three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

J.W. served in the Korean War in the 4th Signal Battalion Corps. J.W. graduated from Mississippi State University in the school of business and started work with the F.D.I.C. where he retired as the head of the Tampa, Fla. field office. After retirement from the FDIC, he was involved in the charter and start-up of the Village Banks of Carrollwood.

J.W. was preceded in death by his son John Wesley Ray III and his dear wife and companion of 60 years Betty Jean Ray. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Grover Cleveland Ray and Hernrietta Hutchinson Ray; brother, G.B. Ray; sister, Wille E. Wilkinson; sister, Mildred Lowe; sister, Cerel Johnson.

J.W. and Betty Jean lived in Brandon, Fla. and Lithia, Fla. before retiring to the north Georgia mountains near Young Harris, Ga. J.W. was active as a deacon in his church, McConnell Memorial Baptist in Hiawassee, Ga. In his later years, J.W. lived in Starkville, Miss., where he had grown up, played football and met Betty Jean. The pride of J.W.’s life was his kids and grandkids. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoyed his horses.

J.W. will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but especially missed by his loving family: daughter, Vicki Ray Alston, and her husband, Max, of Savannah, Tennessee; granddaughter, Sarah Byrne and her husband Patrick Byrne; their son, Jack Wyatt Byrne (J.W.) of El Paso, Texas; granddaughter, Lindsey Gail Alston, of Nashville; grandson, John Max Alston and his wife Bria Fowler Alston, and their daughters, Olivia Paige and Annabelle Avery Alston, of Counce; sister-in-law, Joann Owens, of Starkville, Miss.; several nieces and nephews also survive.

Funeral services for Mr. Ray were held Wednesday, July 25, at 11 a.m., at McConnell Memorial Baptist Church in Hiawassee, with Rev. Don Pickerill officiating. Special music was presented by Patsy Daniel, accompanied by Connie Lake.

The following gentlemen served as pallbearers: Walter Berg, James Jones, Bob Gibby, Don Woodruff, Bill Earnest, and John Max Alston. The following gentlemen served as honorary pallbearers: Patrick Byrne, Truett Shook, Bobby Bryan, Mark Parker, Lamar Cockrell, and Broward Williams.

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Cochran Funeral Home of Hiawassee. Please send this family your condolences and sign the guest registry by visiting our website,

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