CHARLESTON — George Michael Ray Sr. (Mike), age 69, loving husband and father, passed away peacefully after an extended illness Sunday, June 28, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.
He was born March 18, 1951 in Greenwood to the late John Bailey (Johnny Boy) and Berry Whayne Ray of Philipp. Growing up in Philipp, Mike was a lifelong resident of Tallahatchie County. He attended Webb-Swan Lake Elementary School, West Tallahatchie High School and Delta State University. Excelling in track and field events, he was fondly referred to by friends as “The Philipp Flash.” He wa salso an avid golfer.
A self-taught musician, Mike acquired a love for music at a young age. He played piano, organ, drums and trumpet with numerous delta bands, and over 30 years with Mike Ellis and the Hometown Band. He gained the love and lasting friendship of all who knew him.
He and his family resided in Charleston, where he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Having a long and successful business career, he was employed with Sayle Oil Co., Jimmy Sanders, Inc. and Nutrien Ag Solutions.
Mike was preceded in death by his father, John Bailey Ray and mother, Berry Whayne Ray of Philipp, and brother, John David (Nancy) Ray of Charleston.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Eleanor Covington Ray of Charleston; son, Michael (Haley) Ray of Saltillo; daughter, Kate (John) Buchanan of Cleveland; son, John Ellis Ray of Charleston; sisters, Berry Ann Allison of Tippo and Jean Bailey Melton of Tunica; brother, Billy Whayne (Robbie) Ray of Nesbit; and a host of nieces and nephews who loved “Uncle Mike.”
He leaves five beloved grandchildren, Makensie Bright, Lilah Kate Ray, John Michael Ray, Ellis Kate Buchanan and Mary Spring Buchanan.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to the First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 413, Charleston, MS 38921 or to the Merigold Baptist Church, P.O. Box N, Merigold, MS 38759.
A celebration of life service will be announced at a future date.