On June 1, 1938, William “Noel” Ray, Jr. was the first of four children born to William Noel Ray, Sr. and Melba Louise (Cloud) Ray. Growing up in his birth community of Texarkana, Arkansas, Noel spent plenty of time outdoors and was fond of spending time at Momma Grace’s – his maternal grandmother’s home.
While in school, Noel would be introduced to a beautiful young woman named LaNelle Williams. Their mutual friends believed they would be a perfect match and that certainly was the case.
The two would marry on January 3, 1957 at Highland Park Baptist Church, Texarkana, TX. LaNelle remembers the ceremony being beautiful and it was certainly the start to an even more beautiful life!
Noel and LaNelle would make their home in Magnolia, Arkansas where they established an interior design and drapery business. It was there that they built an incredible business, made many friends, and raised their family. They would trade the Magnolia setting for Tulsa, Oklahoma when Noel felt led to enroll in Victory Bible Institute. While in Tulsa, Noel and LaNelle once again started doing what they loved and established a business that would flourish. This was a venture that lasted for more than 40 years before they decided to sell and retire.
A man of many talents, Noel was artistic, was a great cook, and could play the piano and sing beautifully. Over the years he was active in the various churches to which he belonged. Noel never met a stranger and everyone loved him. He was a happy man who maintained a positive outlook no matter what difficulties life dished out. Noel’s favorite title was Poppy. He will forever live in the hearts of his grandchildren as a grandfather who believed they could do no wrong. He adored our family gatherings where he cooked more food than we could ever eat. He had many love languages but cooking was a favorite! Noel’s smile could light up a room and will never be forgotten.
Over the past few years, Noel had been a resident at Forest Hills where the Ray family grew as they welcomed other residents and the staff into their hearts and lives.
Noel passed from this life on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Broken Arrow. He was 81.
He is survived by: his loving wife of 63 years, LaNelle Ray; four children: Tene’ Goyer, husband Tim, Cammie Hambrice, husband Ronny, Mark Ray, wife Kelly, Danielle Vincent, husband Joe; nine grandchildren: Hillary Bokker, husband Adam, Jeremy Hambrice, wife Mandy, Julianna Vincent, Savannah Vincent, Parker Vincent, wife Naudia, Anna Rohleder, husband Charlie, Will Whitehead, wife Jennie Marie, Elizabeth Ray, Jonathon Ray; seven great-grandchildren; two sisters: Nancy Kimrey, husband Greg, Sondra McCollum, husband Scotty.
He is also survived by numerous other relatives and friends. All our memories are sweeter for having Noel in our life!
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