December 20, 1926 ~ December 24, 2011
Ray B. Davis passed away on December 24, 2011 at his home in Madison, Alabama. He was 85 years old and had just celebrated his 85th Birthday by singing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME” a few days prior to his passing. He was born to Minnie May (Sander) and Albert Jefferson Davis on December 20, 1926 in Wichita Kansas. He grew up in Renfrow Oklahoma and attended Medford High School. Ray was the President of his graduating class of 1944 but was not there for the graduation as he had enlisted into the Navy at age 17. He served on the U.S.S. LCS (L) 116, a Navy Vessel in the Pacific during World War II and was a member of the 1st Air Force ROTC after the war. Ray was extremely Patriotic and was very proud to serve the country he loved so much.
Ray enjoyed telling stories of his childhood from hunting rabbits for food to chasing after the train to Renfrow late at night after a date. He would smile and laugh at the things he had done as a kid growing up during the Depression Years.
When Ray was 11 years old his Uncle took him up in an airplane and from then on he was “HOOKED” on aviation. Through the years he was involved in the Pershing Missile, the Redeye and Titan Missile Programs. Later he joined the Gemini, the Mercury, the Sky Lab, the Apollo, and the Space Station Programs. Ray was proud to be the Safety, Reliability, Maintainability and Quality Assurance Director for the Space Shuttle Program at Cape Kennedy, FL. In 1987 he decided to take a position as Quality Director at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT. He retired in 1992 after 42 years of service in the Quality Assurance Profession. Ray had received numerous awards from all divisions of the Department of Defense, but he said the one he was the proudest of was the COMMANDER’S AWARD, for his contributions to the United States Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. His motto was “MAKE IT HAPPEN !”
When Ray was in High School, he had his own 10 piece Jazz Band called “The Jive Bombers“. Ray loved listening to and collecting Jazz and Big Band Music. Music was something that he said made him “YOUNG at HEART”. He would travel throughout the world collecting LP’s and CD’s. In his younger days he enjoyed dancing and became a Professional Dance Instructor for Arthur Murray, entering numerous competitions. Photography was a passion of his as he traveled with his wife, Val throughout the world seeing the sites, the people and learning the customs. He would spend hours putting all the photos into albums for everyone to enjoy. As he would say, he was “Saving all the Memories”.
Ray moved to Scottsdale, AZ in 1992, and became a Lifetime member of the Jazz in AZ Organization, supporting young people in school from elementary to college interested in music. He enjoyed the warm dry weather while attending the outdoor concerts. In March of 2011, he moved to Madison Alabama to be closer to family, he knew his health was deteriorating. Those who mourn his death and celebrate his life are his wife of over 29 years, Valdeen (Val), Son, Ray Burt Davis II, and wife Brigitte with their children Killian and Sandra of Schlossborn, Germany, Step-Son, Donald D. Ravert Jr., his wife Tracy and their daughters, Alexis, Sunny Ann and Dominique of East Haven, CT and Step-Daughter Tina M. Tarsitano, her husband Christopher and their daughter, Christina of Madison, AL. Ray has friends and other family members that cover all corners of the world. Ray was a loving husband, father and friend. He will truly be missed but NEVER FORGOTTEN!!!
He is preceded in death by his mother, Minnie May Davis; father, Albert Jefferson Davis; brothers, Dwight Davis, Hugh Davis and half-brother, Allen Davis.
A military graveside will be held 11:00 a.m Saturday, December 31, 2011 at the Caldwell City Cemetery, Caldwell, Kansas.
Memorials may be given in Ray's name to the American Heart Association or to the American Cancer Society.
Family and Friends - 01/03/2012
I will love you forever and ever . . .
Esther and Peter Zack
Family and Friends - 01/18/2012
We are so sorry to hear about Ray's passing. Our memories of passing by your house and watching the two of you slave lovingly over the beautiful desert landscaping designs you created together. The friendly waves and the times we spent talking small talk were precious to us both. And the times we finally got to socialize with you both, and I even got a dance with Ray.....what a treat!!! He was a wonderful neighbor, friend, husband, father and grandfather. We remember the pride he showed when Tina got married....he sure loved all his children and grandchildren. May he rest in peace and may Val have the courage to carry on in his wonderful memory.
Family and Friends - 01/21/2012
Ray was a special person. I always looked forward to visiting with him. I have known Ray since the early 1960's when I worked for him at Martin Denver and again in the late 1970's when I worked for him at Fairchild Republic. He was a special friend to me. He had a personality that I admired and tried hard to copy. I never heard him say anything negative about other people, I never heard him swear and he always had a smile. I will miss not getting a phone call or the e-mails after he and Val visited some part of the world with the wonderful photos. I miss him. God Bless him and keep him. Amen