Cecil Ray Powers was born in Summitville, TN on May 22, 1933 and died on July 17, 2022. He was the only son of the late Ida Rayburn Powers and Cecil Powers. He had one sister, Dorothy Gail Powers Cole who died in December 2007. She and her husband, Robert, had one daughter, Anita and two grandchildren.
Ray grew up working at Powers and Banks, his father’s general store in Summitville TN. During his school years music, and especially singing, was his great joy. Without professional training, he started singing in school plays and at school events. His first major role was starring in the life story of Steven Foster. That play started his years of singing at numerous weddings, funerals, churches, and a weekly Sunday afternoon radio program that featured popular music of the day. His baritone voice also landed him a part time radio announcer job during his high school years.
Ray later graduated first in his class from the Tennessee School of Broadcasting in Nashville and was awarded a job at Huntsville, Alabama’s largest AM-FM radio station. In April of 1953, after more than two years working at the radio station, Ray volunteered for three years of active duty with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Following four months of rigorous basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he received his five days of leave, which included travel time, to visit parents and report to Fort Lewis, Washington for overseas duty. Everyone on board the ship assumed they were headed for Korea; however, because the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27,1953, the ship docked in Yokohama, Japan. He was assigned to the 564th transportation intelligence unit at the Far East Headquarters in Zama, Japan. He received an honorable discharge in February,1956 with the rank of E5 Specialist. In April 1961, he received an honorable discharge from rescue standby.
When Ray returned to TN, he needed a job close to home. Clyde Phillips, a dear family friend, knew that Mr. John Rann, a successful jeweler in Tullahoma, wanted to open a store in Manchester. The year was 1956. Ray was recommended and hired with Carter-Rann Jewelers who opened a store in downtown Manchester. Mr. Rann retired in 1958 and sold the store, on credit, to Ray and his new bride, the former Sara Frances Gold.
Ray first saw his bride-to-be while singing the Lord’s Prayer at the close of a wedding at the First United Methodist Church in Manchester in 1956. It was November 9th,1957 when the tall, Alabama southern belle, with bright red hair and sparkling blue eyes, became his bride. Their marriage lasted almost 65 years and was blessed with two special daughters, Rita Frances and Linda Kaye and one very special grandson, Matthew Brian.
Ray was an avid writer, winning many awards for the three star letters he wrote to the editor at The Tennessean in Nashville. For a number of years, he also wrote a weekly column in The Manchester Times entitled Silver Linings. His other hobby was cooking southern foods. Ray served on the Manchester Planning Commission and the Manchester Housing Authority. He was a former Lions Club member, a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He was baptized at the age of 12 and was a faithful, lifelong member of the Methodist Church.
Mr. Powers will receive services with military honors on Friday, July 22, at 12:00 p.m. at Manchester City Cemetery with a graveside service to follow with Reverend Randy Brown officiating and musical selections by Jamie Harden.
In lieu of flowers and food, memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
Central Funeral Home is honored to serve the Powers family, 931-723-7774, centralfuneralhome.com