VERGENNES -- Ray B. Blacklock 92, passed away peacefully surrounded by family Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, at his home in Vergennes.
Ray was born Feb. 14, 1928, in Vergennes, the son of the late R.V. and Inez Doerr Blacklock.
He was united in marriage to Gloria Jean Hickman on Feb. 16, 1952, in Pinckneyville. Gloria preceded him in death Nov. 20, 2010.
Ray was also preceded in death by one sister, Alma Davis.
Surviving are two sons, Daniel Blacklock, and Roger (Sherry) Blacklock, both of Vergennes; two daughters, Sheryl (Thomas) Menold of Peoria, and Barbara (John Ham) Blacklock of Carbondale; two grandchildren, Alaina and Elizabeth Ham, and five stepgrandchildren, Jennifer Knop, Steven (Marcel) Farmer, Matthew (Brittany) Farmer, Amy (Kurt) Sell, and Emily (Jeff) Morgan; five great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Ray began his life in a home with a dirt floor, no electricity or running water, on the same land upon which he passed. He and his sister, Alma, rode a horse to school.
Ray loved farming, starting as a boy with horse drawn implements on the land his family had farmed for generations. Over time, he proudly replaced that old equipment with the latest in shiny John Deere green.
Few things made him happier than watching grain filling the hopper of his combine. Or, when the boys beat the girls in the hundreds of friendly pinochle and hand and foot card games over the years. But the world seemed to stand still for Ray and Gloria just after 91 when their only grandchildren, Alaina and Elizabeth were born. Those girls lit up their lives.
Ray was a sweet and gentle man. He could fix anything. He loved the outdoors, and had great natural instincts and intuition. Many cold mornings would dawn with Ray in his deer stand. He was a member of the Murphysboro Canada Club on the English River in Ontario, where he would spend at least a week each summer with friends and family hauling in big Northern Pike and Walleye.
As soon as the wheat was cut, Ray and Gloria would gather the family, hook up the ski boat and head for the Lake of the Ozarks. Ray and Gloria also loved to dance. They were known to cut a fine rug in their time. They also enjoyed traveling the United States and the world.
Later, they built a home and wintered for many years in Naples, Florida, where Ray spent each day applying his green thumb to the property. Today, amid the beautiful landscaping, the Royal Palms he planted by hand around their home tower 60 feet tall in Ray and Gloria's remembrance.
Ray was a member of the Wesley United Methodist church in Vergennes.
Due to COVID-19, there will be no visitation. A memorial service for immediate family will be Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in
Crawshaw Funeral Home in Murphysboro. Burial will be immediately following in the Murdale Gardens of Memory near Murphysboro. The family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be made to The Salvation Army of Southern Illinois, 906 Tower Square Plaza Marion, IL 62959 or to St. June Children's Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105-9959.
To send a note of condolence or for additional information, visit the memorial tribute at www.crawshawfuneralhome.com.