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February 12, 1949 ~ October 25, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old
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On October 25, 2023, Ray completed his earthly race and entered his long awaited heavenly home. A memorial service will be held on Sunday at 2:00 pm at Lebanon Baptist Church. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall from 1 to 2.
Born in Statesboro, Georgia to Elene Raburn Smith and Willard Curtis Smith, Ray lived throughout the southeast due to his father’s occupation. His family later settled in Ideal, Georgia. Upon graduation from Macon County High school, Ray enlisted in the Marine Corps and served honorably for twelve years. His military career included a tour of duty in Vietnam as Force Reconnaissance; Subic Bay, Philippines and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in Photo Imagery Interpretation; Camp Fuji, Japan and Twentynine Palms, California in Counterintelligence; and Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan as Special Agent with Naval Investigative Service.
Following discharge from the Marines, Ray kept an earlier promise to God to enter Christian Ministry to preach the Gospel. He continued his education at Georgia Southwestern University and Georgia State University in Psychology and Marriage and Family Counseling and attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
In 1988, Ray began employment with the Taylor County School System and retired as high school Guidance Counselor after 22 years.
Ray was called to Lebanon Baptist Church in June 1981, where he served faithfully for 42 years ministering to several generations. During this ministry he performed fifty two weddings, 50 baptisms, and fifty four funeral services.
Survivors include his loving wife of 54 years, Joyce Hobbs Smith, two beautiful daughters, Nicole (Bill) Montgomery; Aimee (Sam) McCrary; his three wonderful grandchildren: Morgan (Michael) Leonard, Matthew Davis, and Lilly Anne McCrary, and one brother, Steve (Judy) Smith. He is preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Gary Smith.
Ray loved the Lord, his family and his Lebanon family. A man of many talents, he was an avid reader and enjoyed woodworking, flying, listening to music, writing, target practice, and being with his family.
Donations in Ray’s honor may be made to Lebanon Baptist Church, P.O. Box 1926, Butler, Georgia, 31006 or to your favorite charity. Flowers will be accepted.
Those wishing to honor Ray are encouraged to attend your church faithfully and make sure you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Burial at Andersonville National Cemetery will be private.