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Obituaries

Ray Stanley

Ray Stanley, of Tullahoma, Tennessee crossed over to his eternal reward on Palm Sunday, March 24, 2024. Ray passed away peacefully, of natural causes, in the presence of his wife and children. Born in Miracle, Kentucky on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1938, to the Reverend Beckham Stanley and Eva Moses Stanley, Ray was an excellent athlete and student, and demonstrated a remarkable work ethic from an early age. Upon graduation from Bell County High School, he joined the United States Air Force and began a highly successful professional career. Within a year of joining the Air Force, Mr. Stanley proposed to his wife of sixty-six years, Mrs. Ernestine (formerly Wilson) Stanley, and they began their life together. Their life was an absolute adventure, that combined their love of family, joy for travel, quest for knowledge, steadfast integrity, loyalty to University of Kentucky Athletics and St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, and service to their church and community. After four years of active-duty service, Mr. Stanley took advantage of his military training in electronics and accepted a job with General Dynamics Corporation, in Fort Worth, Texas. His eldest child, Barbara Stanley (Whitaker) was born in Fort Worth, and the young family began to grow. He soon learned of another career opportunity in Tullahoma, Tennessee with Arnold Engineering Development Corporation (AEDC). He took this job in 1962, and soon after the family moved to Tullahoma, where his next daughter, Susan Stanley, was born, and shortly after that, his third child, David Stanley, was born. Ray spent the remainder of his long and distinguished professional career in the Rocket Division of AEDC, adding to what would eventually culminate as nearly 40 years of total service to his nation. During this timeframe and the years that followed, he was an active member of the Tullahoma First Baptist Church, and excelled as a father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Friends and family will long remember being invited to enter the Stanley household, by Ray’s booming voice and familiar and inviting refrain “Come in this house!” Every member of his family will always recall his smiling face and his sincere desire to contribute to their lives, education, and joy. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather and was admired and adored by every person in his life, especially his children and grandchildren. He worked hard to be present in their lives and they will always carry him in their hearts. Most importantly, he and Ernestine, set the example for their children, by investing their time and love in their grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s lives. Their children learned how to love and invest their love from Ray. His leadership, in this very important regard, will pass through the many happy generations to come. An extremely well-traveled man, Ray took great pride in knowing he had spent time in all 50 states and 35 foreign nations. He spent additional time reading and learning about the places he had visited and those places he hoped to visit. He was fond of explaining to his grandchildren and great grandchildren that “a person who has not traveled remains on the first page of life, by his own decision.” He was a generous and Godly man who was slow to anger and fast to laugh. He made friends easily and retained them for life. Those who knew him recall a sweet, kind soul who they admired and loved to be around. Every child, in-law, grandchild, and great grandchild will forever recall a man who would drop what he was doing to come to their rescue, help solve a problem, or simply look them in the eye and really talk to them. He took the time and made the effort to be in the moment for those fortunate to be in his life. Ray Stanley understood the importance of serving as a role model in this regard for his family and friends and they are all better because of his extraordinary example. He was a very special man, indeed. He is survived by his wife, Ernestine Stanley, and three children, Barbara Whitaker (Richard), Susan Stanley, and David Stanley (Lisa). He is also survived by six grandchildren, Kimberlyn, Lauren, Sophie, Ava, Jackson, and Beckham. Finally, he is survived by six great grandchildren, Kensley, Lily, Amelia, Connor, Chase, and Easton. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 27th, 2024 at Kilgore Funeral Home from 12:00-2:00pm with the funeral service to immediately follow at 2:00pm with Bro. Andy Stallings officiating. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Hope Lodge, 2008 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37246. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Kilgore Funeral Home.

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