George Fenton Ray
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George Fenton Ray

Dagsboro, DE - George Fenton Ray, age 81, of Dagsboro, DE successfully, but reluctantly departed our company on Monday, May 11, 2020. He will be sadly missed by scads of birds and squirrels that frequented his backyard feeders and the myriad of other critters that stopped by. He was the son of the late Emmor and Mary (McCarthy) Ray of Drexel Hill, PA. Fenton was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 23 years, JoAnn (Clements) in 2009. He is survived by his daughter, Mary K. Ray of Bethany Beach, DE and son, Michael F. Ray of Fort Benning, GA, brother, Jack Ray (Nancy) and bunches of nieces and nephews, and no less than five sisters-in-law and their husbands, all who warmly shared their families when their sister passed. He loved dogs but admitted to being too lazy to care for, in his words, "a permanent two-year-old". But every dog in the neighborhood walking by his house stopped and looked for their friend on the chance of getting their ears rubbed.

Fenton enjoyed scouting in his early years as a Cub Scout and up to Eagle Scout. He worked at Valley Forge Council (PA) scout camps while in high school and college. While stationed in Germany with the Army he was a Scout Master and served on the Eagle Board of Review in Reno Nevada.

Fenton was the classic late bloomer. Graduating from West Philadelphia Catholic High School in 1956, he then worked as a quality control lab tech for Triangle Publications in Philadelphia doing ink, paper, and electroplating analysis until he started college in 1961. He graduated from Penn State in 1965 (B.S.) and again in 1966 (M.Ed.). During that time the Army was evidently desperate for men and after four years of ROTC, commissioned him as an officer. After an initial two-year tour, he returned to civilian life in education and joined the Army Reserve. He worked in student affairs at both Penn State (Altoona Campus) and the University of Nevada-Reno, and then in school counseling in Fallon and Reno, Nevada. In Nevada he dabbled in silver and turquoise mining on weekends, where he picked up the name "Fencepost", after he near-sighted mining partner mistook him for a fence post the other side of the mining claim. Although he settled in Delaware after retiring, he always missed the smell of sage brush after a rain, the song of God's Dog, the coyote just before dawn, and the vast openness of the Nevada high desert.

Fenton returned to Army active duty in 1978 serving in intelligence assignments at Presidio of San Francisco, the Pentagon and at Ft. Meade, MD. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College (albeit, near the bottom of his class) in 1977 and managed to squiggle through the Army War College in 1987. Fenton was the recipient of many military awards and decorations during his service, but to him, the memories and friendships of the men and women that served with him were the best reward. He retired from the Army at the rank of Colonel in 1994, convinced of a military conspiracy which promoted him, he felt, at least two levels above his competency. But of all the titles and ranks that he held the most important to him was "Dad". Fenton merged his educational and military backgrounds at Sussex Central High School where he initiated the Army JROTC program in 1995. Although he loved working with and teaching the students, he retired from that position in 2005 to spend more time with JoAnn as she battled cancer.

Fenton has volunteered for one last tour of military duty by donating his remains to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. So much for those who said he'd never get into medical school back in high school. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany Beach, DE at a later date with interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, DE. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy should the form of contributions to St. Ann's Catholic Church, 691 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, DE 19970 or the Brandywine Valley SPCA, 22918 Dupont Blvd., Georgetown, DE 19947. Condolences may be sent to www.bishophastingsfh.com.




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Published in the Reno Journal-Gazette and Mason Valley News from May 22 to May 24, 2020.
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May 24, 2020
Fenton will be miss he was a great neighbor and a good friend
Denise & John McCallion
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