CHILLICOTHE - Jackie Ray Kays, 87, died October 13, 2020, at his home in Chillicothe, Missouri.
Jackie was born April 26, 1933, in Sedalia, Missouri, to Charles and Olive Merritt Kays. He was one of eight children.
He joined the National Guard when he was in high school and subsequently joined the Air Force. He served a total of 17 ½ years in the Air Force, 1949-1966, reaching the rank of staff sergeant, and served as a supervisor in the military police. Jackie was medically discharged following an injury received while rescuing crew members from a crash landing. He received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his actions. He was a life-long member of the Vietnam Security Police Association.
His nonmilitary career included running a business, Kay Enterprises, with his son, Johnny. This included the marketing of Johnny's artistic ceramic creations. Over the years Jackie excelled in sports. In his adolescent years, he enjoyed playing baseball and was a successful pitcher who, to his teammates, was known as "Jack Lefty." During his military years, he was a member of the U.S. Air Force boxing team. When Jackie and Wanda moved to Chillicothe, they spent a lot of time at the Fast Lane bowling alley. Jack was an excellent recreational bowler and he and Wanda made many good friends from their time spent there.
Jackie was a man of many interests and talents. He took up acrylic painting in his later years and created more than 10 paintings, many of which hang in their home. Jackie authored and published several books based on his experiences while in the military. He also wrote poetry which can be viewed on his website at jackspoems.com.
Jackie was preceded in death by his mother and father; twin sister, June; and four older brothers and two older sisters. Also his son, Johnny, his first wife, Rolande and step son-in-law, Neal Pitcher.
He leaves behind his wife, Wanda Kays, of the home; his daughter, Monique (Tony) Leonard, and grandson, Anthony. He is also survived by stepdaughters, Terry (Pat) Fitzgerald, Susan (Chris) Ward, and Laurie Pitcher. As well as nine step-grandchildren and 16 step-great-grandchildren.
Memorial graveside services and inurnment with Military Rites will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 24, 2020, in Masonic Cemetery, Gilman City, MO, under the direction of Roberson Funeral Home, Bethany, MO. There is no scheduled family visitation.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Gilman City First Baptist Church in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 46, Bethany, MO, 64424. Online condolences may be left at www.robersonfuneralhome.com.