Shirley Irene Johnson Ray

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Shirley Irene Johnson Ray, 83 of Fayetteville, Ark., died Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at her home.

She was born Jan. 24, 1930, in Lexington, the daughter of Howard Johnson and Eunice Tolbert Johnson.

She grew up in Hazard as the daughter of the local Coca-Cola bottler and graduated from Hazard High School. She would also attend Northwestern University, Centre College and the University of Kentucky.

Shirley was married at the First Baptist Church, in Hazard, on June 17, 1951, to Edward Oren Ray, who was a World War II U.S. Navy veteran and was a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and a brother, Howard Johnson Jr.

Shirley received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord as a youth at Bible Camp and was a member of University Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark. She loved Bible stories and scripture and was a helper in the children's nursery.

During her lifetime she lived in Kentucky, Georgia, Kenya, Russia and Arkansas. Shirley loved being a wife, mother, Nana, and Grandma Shirley to her family and her "Kitty".

A great "letter writer" and world traveler, who loved the color of lavender. She was loved by all who knew her. A sweet, beautiful child of God.

We love you Mom! You are forever the "bestest".

Survivors include her children Rebecca Ruth Ray Gilpin, of Davie, Fla., Edward Oren Ray II, of Fayetteville, Ark., Elizabeth Cheryl Ray Jones, of Fulton, and Robert Oren Ray, of Denver, Colo.; brother, Forest Thomas Johnson; grandchildren, Jared Roderick Gilpin, Jason Ray Gilpin, Jessica Ruth Gilpin Boecker, Shelby Patrick Jones, Jackson Henry Jones, Caroline Alana Jones; great-grandchildren, Samuel and Rachel Gilpin; and a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends across the United States.

A chapel service will be held at Engle-Bowling Funeral Home, 301 East Main Street, in Hazard, on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 11 a.m., and followed by a graveside service in Englewood Cemetery.

To sign the online guest book, please visit

Funeral Home
Engle-Bowling Funeral Home - Hazard
301 East Main St. P.O. Box 705
Hazard, KY 41701
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Published in The Floyd County Times from Nov. 25 to Nov. 26, 2013
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