Asa M. Ray, Jr.
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Funeral services for Mr. Asa M. Ray, Jr., 90, of Monroe, will be held at 2:00 PM, Thursday, May 2, 2013 at the chapel at Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road, Monroe, with Rev. Craig West, Dr. Alan Miller, and Dr. John "Bud" Traylor officiating. Interment will follow at Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery.
Asa was welcomed home to eternity by his Savior, Jesus Christ, on April, 29, 2013. Asa was born on October 20, 1922. He was the son of Asa Melvin Ray, Sr., and Mary Susan "Sudie" Presnall Ray. Asa was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 57 years, Opal Lee Young Ray; siblings, Ora Minerva Ray Batson, Jack Westwood Ray, Audie Lilan Ray Mann, Zera Addie Ray Byrd, Patrick Everett Ray, and Lorene Martha Leona "Toots" Ray Messina. Asa is survived by his wife of 6 years, Billie E. Ray; daughter, Phyllis Susan Ray Temple of Downsville, Louisiana; sons, Terry Asa Ray (Marian), of Maumelle, Arkansas and Rodney Arthur Ray (Jill) of West Monroe, LA, Stepchildren, Mary Brock (John) of Atlanta; Jim Rockett ( Paula) of Gulf Breeze, FL ; David Rockett (Debbie) of Monroe, LA; Becky Shillinglaw ( Drew) of Nashville, TN; Linda Springer ( Charles) of Monroe, LA; as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Following high school, Asa received a letter from "Uncle Sam" requesting his services in the United States Army. After basic training, his unit reported to the Hawaiian Islands for mountain combat training. While in Hawaii, Asa became aware that his brother, Jack, was stationed nearby. Completely surprised by his younger brother's appearance one day, Jack communicated to their mom back home, the following message: "I saw someone today who is very dear to you and he is doing well!" Asa served out the remainder of his service as a forward observer with the 39th Division in the South Pacific. When reflecting on his time in combat, Asa would frequently express that he survived his duty as a forward observer "only by the grace of God."
After completing his service in the Army, Asa moved to Las Alamos, New Mexico where he worked on the Manhattan Project, commonly known as "The Hill." He then returned to Louisiana where he married Opal and moved to Ruston so he could attend Louisiana Tech University to obtain a degree in Civil Engineering where he graduated in 1953. Throughout his life Asa seldom missed a LA Tech football game, and occasionally traveled with the team on away games. Asa and Opal enjoyed deep-sea fishing, going to the Holy Land together, and family reunions.
Asa worked as a professional civil engineer and professional land surveyor obtaining the honor of Who's Who in Engineering in 1974, Surveyor of the Year in 1980, as well as serving as president of the Louisiana Engineering Society, supporting the American Legion and many other veteran and civic organizations. He also participated in NASA's Saturn Missile Project in Birmingham, Alabama before returning home and eventually establishing his own consulting engineering firm - Ray Engineering, Inc. He mentored many young aspiring engineers and land surveyors including his son, Rodney, and grandson, Ryan of R-Squared Global. Retiring from self-employment at Ray Engineering, Asa received a call from Mayor Bob Powell to fill in as interim City Engineer. High ethical standards and engineering acumen, lead to Asa serving as Monroe's City Engineer under the leadership of four mayors before retiring again in 2004 to care for his beloved and ailing wife, Opal, until her passing in 2006.
Asa married Billie in 2007 and returned to work with his son at R- Squared Global as a consultant in 2008. Because his license had expired during his retirement, Asa recertified his engineering license by passing a rigorous exam at the age of 88. Asa and Billie enjoyed traveling to many places together until Billie became a tireless caregiver to Asa as his health continued to decline until his passing.
Asa was a member of First Baptist Church, Monroe, LA, where he served as a lifetime deacon. As a professional engineer and land surveyor his accomplishments included being a skilled photographer and artist as well as an avid hunter and fisherman. Fishing alongside his sons and grandsons brought Asa great joy and satisfaction, as well as the special care he received from his daughter, Phyllis, during his hospital stays. Asa considered traveling to the Holy Land and praying beneath the olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane as one of his most cherished blessings.
The family would like to thank Dr. David Herbert and especially all his in-home care providers and specifically Sherri, Nicci, Denise and Ashley.
Our Pa, as he was affectionately called by his family and loved ones, will be dearly missed, but we rejoice in the fact that we will see him again in Heaven.
Pallbearers will be John Hanks, Joseph Ray, Ryan Ray, Brandon Ray, Garrett Hudson, James Rockett, and Joseph Rockett. Honorary Pallbearers will be the Deacons of First Baptist Church of Monroe.
Visitation will be held at Mulhearn Funeral Home on Sterlington Road, Monroe, LA from 5:00 - 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday, May 1.
Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church, Monroe, LA.
Online Registry/Condolences: www.mulhearnfuneralhome.com
Mulhearn Funeral Home
Published in The News Star on May 1, 2013
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