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Beverly Louise Arnold Ray


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Beverly Louise Arnold Ray Obituary
Beverly Louise Arnold Ray

Cherokee Village, AR

She had been described by others as one of a kind, stubborn, strong willed, single minded, opinionated and one with high expectations. But underneath that tough exterior, she was loving, caring and a staunch supporter of her family and friends. Beverly Louise Arnold Ray was born August 2, 1921 to Harry Bradford Arnold and Mary Louisa Coley Arnold in Memphis, TN. Growing up in the tough economic times of the period, she learned how to do a lot herself which included doing the cooking in a boarding house for all those staying there and making her own clothes. This early experience established her sense of independence and for those close to her, stubbornness. She met the love of her life, James Clark "J.C." Ray, in high school and got married secretly right before the start of their senior year at Tech High School. During high school, they were together to the point that everyone naturally thought of them as J.C. and Beverly. This continued through the rest of their life together as they were always doing things together as partners. Their early marriage was blessed with two children, Beverly Jean and James Allen, but WWII intervened and J.C. served in the Pacific Campaign. After his return, they started one of their mutual endeavors - building a house. Using a tool and hard work was something that she naturally took on, and she was always involved in any such project. Being in a new section of town in Memphis on Graham Road, they mutually took on the role of organizing and leading the Macon Road Civic Club to address neighborhood issues and improvements including establishing Gaisman Park on Macon. A third child, Thomas Bradford, came into the family and as the normal mother of all her children, she was involved in the local PTA's and other activities of each child. With her creative ability along with her sewing skills, each child can remember what Halloween costume she created from scratch and their wins at the school Halloween contests. With an acre of land, she also started her labor of love of plants, flowers and trees. She was one of the first members of the Faxon 4000 Garden Club in her neighborhood and eventually became involved with the State Garden Club as an officer. She helped in the establishment of the arboretum at Elmwood Cemetery, made many presentations at numerous venues about gardening and participated in many of the flower arranging competitions with a host of ribbons earned. Beverly had attended YWCA Camp Miramichee in Hardy, Arkansas as a youth and fell in love with the area. That led to a family vacation back to the area in the mid-1950's which resulted in a purchase of a lot on a lake - still to be completed in the then brand new Cherokee Village development. The team of Beverly and J.C. took on another construction project in building a cabin on the lake. This became the center of many of the family activities over the years with everyone learning to ski, including Beverly. Of course, on a given weekend, she would be laying down a rock walkway, building an equipment shed, or some other labor around the cabin. Still she found time for fishing, a love she had from going fishing with her dad growing up and a mutual interest with J.C. She was a prolific reader. She always fell asleep with a book in her hand. Besides the enjoyment, she learned a lot of new things to make and do. One effort she started was photography and she became the photographer for many of her garden club activities. Crafts of any kind were not a challenge and she had a whole storeroom of supplies to tackle anything. She took up oil painting at one time and many are now displayed in various family member homes. She worked for some time at Sears in their credit department. She was very detail oriented and liked to do research. So one thing she specialized in was tracking down delinquent debtors. This skill became very useful when she later took up genealogy as she was tenacious in tracking down information and leads. Many vacations and trips included stops at libraries, historical centers, churches, etc in her quest to gather family records. J.C. worked for the Telephone Company and they both got involved in the Telephone Pioneers association and when he joined Kiwanis, they were also equally involved. J.C. ultimately became a Governor in Kiwanis and his involvement gave them the opportunity to do lots of travel and with the exceptions of the need to do air travel, they drove. Driving adventures with them always meant adding on hundreds of miles as once they were in the general vicinity of something, a few hundred miles extra was normal. Cooking was her love and expertise. Cooking from scratch and adding spices to taste or substituting ingredients was her norm. As a result, any large food need for family or organization, she was in her element. Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings at the house always were family, friends and friends of friends and just for good measure, some servicemen from the local military base. J.C. died in 2007 and she lost her love of her life after 68 years of marriage and every day she would tell us how much she missed him. After he died, she sold the house in Memphis that she had labored so much in from its initial construction and moved to the area she knew well - Cherokee Village, buying a house on a lake. So she had the ability to enjoy the lake and still do fishing while she was still able. She got involved in the community activities also including helping out at the senior center. It is here that she passed away on the 10th anniversary of J.C.'s death on May 21, 2017. This was somewhat fitting as she showed us one last time that she was in control to choose her own time of passing. She leaves her daughter, Beverly Gooch and her husband, Brooks and her sons, Jim Ray and his wife, Charlotte and Brad Ray and his wife, Nancy along with five grandchildren. Visitation will be Thursday, May 25 from 1-2 p.m. at Family Funeral Care. The graveside service will follow at 2 p.m. at Memphis Memory Gardens.
Published in The Commercial Appeal from May 24 to May 25, 2017
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