James (Jim) Ray passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 31st, 2021, at the age of 65 in Springfield, MO. After fighting many years with Alzheimer’s, he finally won his battle and is at peace.
Jim was born on August 27, 1956, in Mexico, MO to Clarence and Doris Ray and raised in Vandalia, MO alongside 3 siblings. He learned a life of farming, agriculture, and hard work that he later passed down to his own children. After graduating high school, Jim joined the Army, committing his first 4 years into active service. After completing, he attended school at College of the Ozarks to obtain a degree in Arts, beginning his love for photography. He later transitioned into the National Guard, making a lifetime career in the armed services within public affairs. This is where his passion for photography really came through. In his career with the National Guard, he was able to tour the world. He served several tours overseas throughout Europe and Africa. He was able to aid at the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, with Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and with the devastating Joplin tornado, just to name a few. After his father became ill, he moved back home to Vandalia, MO to assist in his care. Jim retired from the armed services in 2008 as a Major, putting in 32 years of service to his country, and to go back to a life at the farm. He and his wife moved to Springfield, MO in 2018 to be closer to family, where he lived for the rest of his years.
Jim was a proud man. He enjoyed learning, teaching and all things outdoors. He was very skilled in all aspects of life and enjoyed teaching others. Some of his favorite activities consisted of fishing, camping, shooting his guns, listening to music, and taking pictures. He loved his community, flat ground and spoke often of how he rode the school bus with just about everyone.
Jim married the love of his life in 2000, Monique Cox. He has two children from his previous wife, Joanne Henry, and James Ray II.
Jim is survived by his wife, Monique Ray, his children, and their spouses- Joanne and Mitch Henry, James and Elizabeth Ray. His grandchildren- Liam Henry, James Ray III, Jonathan Ray, and Joshua Ray. His mother- Doris Ray. And his siblings- Pat Trower, Mike Ray and Paul Ray. He is predeceased by his father Clarence Ray.
Services for Jim will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, November 13, at Waters Funeral Home in Vandalia, Missouri. Military Honors will be provided at a private family service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Vandalia Area Historical Society or Alzheimer's Association, in care of Waters Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be made to the family on Jim's memorial page at www.watersfuneral.com.