A Tribute to My Father

by Steve Ray on August 13, 2012

Dad wearing my hat at his 90th Birthday

He was the best of men and fathers. I have no doubt of his destination. He is now with the angels and saints worshiping God in heaven. Being a Christian was his whole life. One cannot discuss my father without recalling that Jesus Christ was the heart of his life.

I remember as a boy he would buy two ice cream cones, walk out and sit on the sidewalk next to a poor man. He gave him the ice cream and said, “While you enjoy the ice cream, let me tell you about Jesus.” That was the heart of my father.

Me on the right with our cow, our pony and our goat and every present Dad

When Ford Motor Company wanted to promote him he would ask, “Would it mean working more hours and Saturdays?” They said, “Yes.” He then responded every time, “I am sorry I have to decline. I have three boys at home that need me more than Ford Motor Company does.”

Saturdays were always for us boys. Dad’s hobby and sport was the family. He worked, took us to church and the rest of his time was with the family.

Saturday in the pool: Dad, Mom and us three brothers

He bought us a pony, built a 15 foot swing set and tree fort, put up a pool, built a little barn, worked in our garden, watched the birds, took us for endless walks in the woods and more than anything else he read us books. Every evening he read us books and told us stories.

Pneumonia hit him two weeks ago today and antibiotics couldn’t whip it. He was too weak. We had three priests come in to pray for him and anoint him. I prayed along with them and said, “Lord, if he is deficient in anything, give it to him now through the hands and words of your priests and through his faith and the Catholic faith of his family.”

We love knowing of his love for Jesus and in the end, when he could only whisper, he pointed up and struggling to breath whispered, “I believe now more than ever.”

A few months ago viewing the grave plots where he will now be buried. He was ready.

Charles Robert Ray died peacefully at 4:20 AM in his own bed with my daughter Emily holding his hand and singing to him about Jesus and praying the Rosary. Janet and I were in an airplane heading home and arrived shortly after he died. But we had a blessed two hours with my mom and my kids and my siblings. We hugged and kissed him as his body grew stiff and cold. And then they zipped him into the vinyl bag and took him away.

He taught me how to live, and now – how to die. He will be missed. Thanks Dad for being a real father, for loving us, working hard without ever complaining, caring for us, being an example and leading us to Christ. He is adored by his grandkids and his great grandkids. I am who I am today because of my dad and mom.

In the dedication to my first book I wrote, “To my parents, Charles and Fran Ray, who raised me in a godly Evangelical home, who taught me to love the Lord, who spent untold hours praying for me, and who gave me a passion for truth and learning (see 2 Timothy 3:15).”

Thanks to everyone for your prayers. We have a special Facebook page in his honor.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Pattymelt August 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

God bless you and your children, but especially your mother.
Will pray for your consolation.

Janet Holtz August 13, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away.

Kate Hunter August 13, 2012 at 9:35 PM

To end up the man you are and that you owe that character to your dad is a tribute that
tells all of us who never knew your dad that he was some kind of dad, some kind of man and
he loved Jesus very much.
I am sorry for your loss but I know you are comforted because you know Jesus has his arms
around your dad.
I thank your dad and your mother for you are an inspiration to me, also a convert.
God Bless You and Your Family.

Jeannie McCloskey August 14, 2012 at 6:47 AM

God bless your Dad and Mom for being the people who instilled such faith in you. You’ll miss your Dad desperately and your Mom will grieve her loss most deeply. To know that we will all be together in Heaven one day will keep you and your family going through the tough days ahead. God Bless you and your loved ones.

theresa in Alberta August 14, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Eternal rest grant unto your Dad………
I can just hear our Blessed Lord saying “well done my servant, enter into your Fathers house”!

Francis Odoi August 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I am so sorry to learn about your Dad’s death. May the good Lord receive in His Kingdom and console your entire family. May He take care of your Mum in her loss.

Francis

Margie Sindelar August 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Beautiful testimony to your Father, my condolences and prayers. Margie Sindelar

Rick Steele August 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Steve: Sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. He sounds like he was an example to all fathers in how to raise their sons to follow our Lord.
God Bless your family in this time of grief.

De Maria August 14, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Whenever someone I love passes, I have nine Masses prayed in their honor. Perhaps you have already done this. But if not, it is considered very beneficial for the immortal soul of the departed.

In the meantime, may God bless you and your entire family during this trying time. And may the soul of the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Tom Govern August 14, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Steve, Your love obviously runs very deeply. Just remember that one of your Dad’s greatest accomplishments is YOU.

Bill Ware August 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Steve – you may not recall me having has so many pilgrims but I am the father of Lily – my wife Betsy and my name is Bill (my baby had the open heart surgery) – anyway in YOUR time of grief allow me to say that I pray you father that he is in heaven and he is saying…” Ah of course!” as the Lord explains the Eucharist…seriously, may he be at peace in his mansion selected just for him.

Love and Peace,

-Bill Ware

Amy Launiere August 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Dear Steve and Janet,

What an exemplary role model you had in your father. It sounds like the blessing of his life will leave a beautiful legacy in your family. You have been gifted by his life beyond measure and now you have cherished memories to hold close. I’m sure this is the way God intended life to be for all families. With the work you two are doing, you are giving away what you received from your father (and I’m sure your mother too).

I cherish the memories of our pilgrimage to Italy in 2010. Thank you for blessing my life.

God bless you all. You have my condolences.

Amy Launiere
Rockford, Michigan

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