John Clifford “Cliff” Ray, age 65, passed away on July 31 in Eagle Lake. He was born to Emmett Roland and Bettye Gleason Ray on Sept. 12, 1953 in Greenwood, MS. He married Ramona “Mona” Rucka on Oct. 10, 1981.
Cliff served in the United States Navy on a destroyer in the Mediterranean as a Radar man. After his service was concluded he was in the Navy Reserve and attended the Citadel. Throughout his life he worked many jobs but his true passion was flying.
He worked on a barge on the Mississippi River to pay for flight school. Once he completed flight school he accumulated thousands of hours as an Ag Pilot in farming communities across the United States and Colombia.
Cliff also loved scuba diving, skydiving, the outdoors, and riding his Harley Davidson in his younger days. He was a loving devoted family man who will always be known for his kindness and the many stories he accrued over the many years of flying.
Cliff was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Dan Clinton Ray.
Cliff is survived by his wife of 37 years, Mona Rucka Ray of Eagle Lake; children, John Matthew Ray and wife Melissa of Alleyton, Stuart Ray of San Antonio, and Chelsea Smith and husband Hunter of Lubbock; grandchildren Becca Elizabeth Ray, Seth James Ray and Chase Ervin Smith; brother Romie Clayton Ray of Cleveland, MS.
Funeral services were Friday, Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Eagle Lake, with Pastor Eric Lankford officiating.
Burial followed at Lakeside Cemetery in Eagle Lake. Visitation was Friday, Aug. 2 at First Baptist Church.
Serving as pallbearers were John Michael Rucka, Steven Polach, Jake Rucka, Taylor Potter, Colton Epps and Derrick Rucka. Honorary pallbearers were Travis Polach, Joey De Oto, Daniel De Oto, Cody Thompson, Clinton Noska, Zachary Potter, Dustin Epps and Brandon Rucka.
Memorials may be made to Smile Train, P.O. Box 96231, Washington, D.C. 20090-6231, online @ www.smiletrain.org or charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be given to the family at www.hennekefuneralhome.com.