Raymond Edward Cross Jr.
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Raymond Edward Cross Jr., 61 years young, passed away on Thursday, October 10, 2013. A resident of Bellevue, MI for 25 years, Ray was called from this life in Galesburg, MI. Born the first child to parents Elizabeth (Carr) Cross and Raymond Cross Sr., he arrived in Baltimore, MD on January 18, 1952. A sister, Leanne, soon followed.
As role models, his father proudly served in the military (Navy) and his mother worked for the State of Maryland. Ray also proudly served in the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1973 through 1976, during the Vietnam War. Ray married the love of his life, Deborah (Kestler) in 1978. Leaving his beloved Baltimore (Go Ravens!), he and his wife moved to Battle Creek, MI where he served in the Air National Guard and then served in the Army National Guard for over a decade. He completed a bachelor's degree at Western Michigan University and remained a Bronco fan for life. Ray was blessed to have three wonderful sons, Michael, David, and Christopher before the family moved to Bellevue.
After leaving the military life behind, Ray worked for the Accident Fund and AAA in risk management. In his favorite job he relished the role of preparing for "disaster recovery". He was a quick thinker with a mind for planning ahead. He prided himself on his witty and humorous presentations to make a dull subject exciting.
Outside of work, Ray took an active role in founding the Bellevue post of the American Legion #280. He appreciated the older, better things in life like old movies and big band music. Any mention of a movie being better than Casablanca led to movie quotes and plot points and a long discussion. An unknown origin of a love of frogs did not deter his admiration for them.
Ray remembered the funny times in life and passionately and affectionately retold the stories. He would light up the room when he met someone who had not heard them all before.
Ray lived his life with emotion, both good and bad, for better and for worse. While he often felt that without bad luck he'd have no luck at all, he persevered and pushed himself forward. After all, they made some good stories.
From 2002 through 2005 Ray proudly supported his youngest son, Christopher, as he continued the family military tradition in the Army.
In 2005, his eldest son Michael married his daughter-in-law Stacy (Bailey). In 2010, the apple of his eye entered the world, his only grandchild, Olivia Evon Cross. Within the first year, Ray had introduced Olivia to Lambchop, Puff the Magic Dragon, and baked her a homemade cake for her first birthday.
Ray is survived by his wife Deborah (of Bellevue, MI), his sons David (of Owosso, MI), Christopher (of Paw Paw, MI), Michael and Stacy and Granddaughter Olivia (of Portage, MI), sister Leanne (Cross) and brother-in-law John Farrell (of Elkridge, MD), mother Elizabeth (of Glen Burnie, MD), niece Christy (Farrell) and Mike Bergstrom and sons Cole and Brady (of Boston, MA), and niece Kathleen (Farrell) and Zach Haney (of Martinsburg, WV). He was preceded in death by his father Raymond (of Glen Burnie, MD).
Visitation is planned at the Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home (269-962-5527, www.farleyestesdowdle.com) in Battle Creek, MI (105 Capital Ave N.E.) from 5-8pm, Monday, October 14, 2013. A private family service with full military honors is planned for Wednesday,
October 16, 2013 at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Ray requested all donations in his honor be provided to the Wounded Warrior Project (www.WoundedWarriorProject.org).
Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Oct. 13, 2013