RAY "BIG DADDY" STALLINGS, 84
Stallings Crop Insurance Corp.
Veteran Korea, 1st Lieutenant
LAKELAND - Gerald Ray Stallings, age 84, passed away July 28, 2014, at his home in Bartow, Florida, due to heart failure.
Ray, who was born in Valdosta, GA, on September 17th, 1929, was raised in the community of New Lois, between Nashville and Valdosta. He attended New Lois Community School, Gordon Military School, and the University of Georgia until he was called to duty in Korea in July 1952, where he served honorably until March 1954. Upon Ray's return, he rejoined the family businesses and worked on the farm and at the family feed and seed store. While working he also attended Valdosta State College and married his wife, LaVern Hayes, in December 1955. Ray farmed many more years with his brother Wayne and worked as a fertilizer salesman, until 1963 when he went to work for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation in Valdosta. In 1973, Ray and the family moved to Lakeland, Florida, where he resided and worked with FCIC until his retirement in April 1988. After retirement, Ray founded Stallings Crop Insurance Corporation, which was purchased in 1996 by his son Bob, who continues the family business today in Lakeland.
Ray, in his best of times, is remembered by many as an honorable husband and father, an avid golfer and card player, gun collector, and hunter. True friends and business associates of Ray appreciated his outspoken ways and knew what a strong, honorable, and caring man he was. Very few friends knew that Ray, for many years, taught Sunday school and loved it, due to his strong knowledge of the bible and the debates that came from its contradictions.
Ray lived and resided in his Bartow family home and citrus grove from 2004 until now.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 54 years, Lavern H. Stallings, daughter-in-law Tina, granddaughter Cami, as well as his father LR and mother Minnie O. Stallings. Ray is survived by his two sons, Buck of Tampa and Bob of Bartow, as well as his granddaughter Brandi of Nashville. He is also survived by his only brother, Wayne Stallings, wife Sylvia, their son Lee and his family, and daughter Lynn, of Nashville.
Heath Funeral Chapel, on South Ingraham Ave. in Lakeland, is arranging services to be held in Nashville, Georgia. A graveside Memorial Service by Lovein Funeral Home of Nashville, Georgia, will be held at West View Cemetery off of Memorial Drive in Nashville, GA. on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to MacDonald Training Center where his eldest son Buck has attended for many years. MacDonald
Training Center, 5420 W. Cypress Street, Tampa, FL, 33607, (813) 870-1300 or
www.macdonaldcenter.org. Condolences can be sent to heathfuneralchapel.com
Heath Funeral Chapel
328 South Ingraham Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
Published in Ledger from Aug. 3 to Aug. 4, 2014