Jacob Benjamin ”Jake” Ray, age 76, passed away Wednesday, September 4, 2019, in Idaho. His passage was a peaceful one with loving family members and his Bishop Beau Ward, by his side.
Born August 4, 1943, near Clover Lick, he was a son of the late Woodrow and Violee Defibaugh Ray.
Jake spent the last 38 years with the love of his life, his wife, Dianna Tawney Ray. Together they loved and raised Lena Marie, Jacob Wesley, and wife, Krystal, Molly Ellen Ray, Jacob B. Ray Jr., and wife, Yvonne, Donald Ray Shurtz and Christine, Danielle Nicole Akers and Autumn Tawney. Grandchildren, Kylee, Gerald, William, Charlie, Daun Shurtz, Kayla Ray, Jacob B. Ray III, Alex, Kara, Dustin, Austin, Kaylynn and Preston. Great-grandchildren, Willow, Severn, Noah and Tashina.
Jake never stayed in one place very long. He traveled around with his family from West Virginia to North Carolina, then Idaho. He finally settled down with his family in Hansen, Idaho. He worked at various jobs including the VEPCO Dam in Virginia, Hanover Shoe Factory, Snowshoe Ski Resort and retired last year after 20 years with Amalgamated Sugar Factory, a beet refining company.
A lover of life and family, Jake remained true to his faith in the Mormon Church. As a High Priest in the church, he baptized a couple of family members. He spent a lot of time talking about family roots and loved to tease little children. He loved country music and loved to dance. He and his sister, Helen, danced one night to a live band where the tune ran on and on and on, neither one of them wanting to be the first to quit until the music stopped. They were both exhausted and didn’t feel good the next day. They finally admitted to each other that they were still tired and vowed to never do that again.
A storyteller, Jake self-published a book titled Logging Boots, telling stories of the boots, a hoop snake and Big Run. He told his Big Run story in the Long Lies category during a Liars Contest in which he won second place. He was a champion liar; placing first or second every year that he entered. In 2016, he also wrote a story included in Coal Miners and Mountaineers, tales from the Good Old Days in Central West Virginia.
Jake played basketball in grade school and became one of the star players. After school days, he joined in with different groups of friends and co-workers to play baseball in both West Virginia and Idaho. He was also famous for his arm wrestling. He mastered the art and taught a couple of younger men to carry on – one being his nephew, Jamie Gibson, who has never, so far, lost a contest.
When a family member had a health issue, Jake was the one who told them which spot on their foot to massage. He studied Reflexology and was a firm believer in the benefits of a good foot rub. It was commonplace during a family visit to see Jake sitting with a sister’s foot on his lap. He would massage various spots while holding a conversation.
He was very interested in handwriting analysis. Jake would study the handwriting on any written correspondence he received to make note of the person’s state of mind while writing. He also studied the Chinese Zodiac Signs and loved to compare the various traits of each sign and their compatibility with others.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, George Lucas Ray (stillborn); six siblings, a sister, Mary Ellen Ray Holloway, passed in April 2019, two brothers, Ernest Clarence Ray and Delbert Calvin Ray, did not survive their infancy, and three stillborn.
In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by 10 sisters, Helen Keegan, and husband, Donald, of Baltimore, Maryland, Margaret Corbett, Darlene Cassell, Sally Gibson, Ernestine Hannah, Barbara Mock, and companion, Jim Keatley, all of Marlinton area, Della Ray, and companion, Joey Judy, of Bartow, Frances Tawney, and husband, Pete, of Buckeye, Virginia Wilcox, and husband, Calvin, and Nellie Ray, all of Twin Falls, Idaho; three brothers, Ronald Ray, and wife, Betty, of Twin Falls, Idaho, Charles Ray, of Marlinton, and Johnny Ray, and wife Cindy, of Warm Springs, Virginia; an aunt, Oleta Scruggs, of Roanoke, Virginia; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral service will be held September 11, 1 p.m. at Parkes Magic Valley Funeral Home in Twin Falls, Idaho. Burial will be in Hazelton Cemetery in Hazelton, Idaho.