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Joseph Ray Gill

1921 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Joseph Ray Gill Obituary
Gill, Joseph Ray
of Richmond, Missouri, born July 24, 1921, son of Laura Etta Wright Gill and Joseph Walter Gill died Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona at age 94 after a brief illness. Ray is survived by his children, Christie White and husband Jerry of Liberty, MO and John Gill and his wife Melanie of Kansas City, MO. Other survivors include grandchildren Kenneth White and wife Hannah, Marcie White, Andrew Gill, and Emily Karr and husband Grant. Ray is also survived by four great-grandchildren. Other survivors include his sister-in-law, Shirley Middleton of Richmond, and members of his extended family. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 62 years, Lucille Gill, and two brothers, Wesley Gill and Melvin Gill. Ray was born in Hamilton, MO but spent the majority of his life in Richmond, MO. His early life was spent as the son of itinerant farmers during the depression, moving from farm to farm which resulted in Ray receiving only an 8th grade education. After service in World War II, Ray returned to Ray County to begin laying the foundation of what would become a successful family business of which he was extremely proud. Ray applied his ingenious talents to enhance the infrastructure of southern Ray County. He had a lifelong dedication to serving levee and drainage districts, using innovative techniques to improve agricultural production for the entire community. Ray served the local community as a member of the Board of Directors of Exchange Bank and was a founding member of Friends of the Farris, a Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Richmond, MO, a member of the Richmond Rotary Club, Richmond Masonic Lodge #57 and the Ararat Shrine. Ray's service and influence extended beyond the local community. He served on the Board of Directors for Ameribanc, St. Joseph, MO. He was particularly proud of his service and love for William Jewell College in Liberty, MO where, recognizing the importance of education, he initiated the Gill Family Scholarship Fund. He served on the Board of Trustees and on numerous committees which culminated in Ray's receipt of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from William Jewell. Ray was a generous supporter of William Jewell College, Mayo Clinic of Scottsdale, The Rotary Foundation, the Farris Theater and Ray County Library. The Kappa Alpha fraternity, of which Ray was an honorary member, recognized him for his service and entrepreneurship by conferring him the Knight Commander's Accolade. In addition to Ray's life-long passion for learning, he traveled extensively nationally as well as internationally as an agricultural ambassador visiting Europe, China, Russia and South America. Ray's travels led him and Lucille to Scottsdale, AZ where they owned a second home. Following Lucille's death, Ray retired to Scottsdale, surrounded by his many friends. Both in Scottsdale and in Richmond, Ray continued to pursue his philanthropic interests and provide encouragement to people of all ages. Ray will be dearly missed by his family and numerous friends in both Richmond and Scottsdale. A visitation will be held Friday, April 1, at Messinger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary, 8555 East Pinnacle Peak Road in Scottsdale, AZ from 4:30 to 6:00 PM. A visitation in Richmond, MO will be held on Tuesday, April 5, at Thurman Funeral Home, 507 East Main Street, Richmond, MO from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, April 6, at the First Baptist Church, 306 West Main Street, Richmond, MO at 10:30 AM. Internment will immediately follow at Richmond Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Gill Family Scholarship Fund at William Jewell College, 500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068. Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 1, 2016
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