RAY JONES

Services held Saturday

JONES, Ray Steger, of Blackstone, went to be with our Lord Jesus on Monday, July 2, 2018. Ray was born on July 31, 1924 in the same room where he passed at the age of 93 years, 11 months, and 2 days on his beloved farm, Richlands Dairy. The youngest of four children born to the late Charles Louis and Willie Vivian Jones, Ray was preceded in death by his three siblings: C.L. Jones, Garland Jones, and Mary Charlotte Jones Corson. Ray began his studies at Virginia Tech in 1942; however, with two of his brothers in the war, his father sent for him to come home on the basis of the farm deferment. Being restless at home while his brothers and friends were fighting, he enlisted in the Navy and proudly served for a short period as a Communications Officer and gunner assigned to the PBY Catalina at the end of WWII. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to Virginia Tech where, along with taking classes, he served as the president of the Agronomy Club and the Agriculture Club and was a member of Alpha Zeta and O.D.K. He graduated with a B.S. in Agronomy in 1949. In August of 1948, he married his hometown sweetheart, Shirley Dews. After finishing at VPI, Ray and Shirley lived in Tazewell County where their first daughter was born. Ray worked for three years as the manager of the Richlands Farm Bureau Cooperative before deciding to return to the family farm in 1952 and starting a Grade A dairy in 1953. Ray and Shirley went on to have three more daughters and a son after returning to the farm. Richlands Dairy Farm was formally incorporated in 1979 and is still family-run to this day by Ray’s son, Hugh, plus Hugh’s oldest daughter, his son, and daughter-in-law. Ray served as Director and/or President of various dairy boards including Norfolk Milk Coop, which later merged with Dairymen, Inc., The Dairy Council of Virginia, SUDIA (Southeast United Dairy Industry Association), UDIA (United Dairy Industry Association), and FCFP Farm Coop. He was a member of the Bellefonte Grange, Farm Bureau, the Gideons, the Ruritan Club, the Lion’s Club, and the Rose Society during different periods of his life. Ray was a long-time member of Grace UMC in Wilsons and was very instrumental in the development of the rose garden at the former VUMAC in Blackstone. Anyone who knew Ray knew that his mind was always working on some project. He loved farming, plus raising flowers and vegetables. He loved to tell stories and had a good sense of humor and easy smile. He enjoyed reading and getting in his boat on the pond to go fishing. In his later years, when his body couldn’t keep up with his mind, he depended on his “kiddie car” (golf cart) to get him where he needed to go and thus was able to continue with many projects well into his 90s with some help from family and farm employees. Last summer, at 93, he grew his biggest vegetable garden and watermelon patch ever! Jones is survived by his devoted wife, Shirley, of almost 70 years; his children: Carol and husband, Ed Gaunt, Vivian and husband, Mike Gosey, Gayle and husband, Tom Hines, Hugh and wife Tracey Jones, Jennifer and husband, Mike Rice; 16 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren. The family received friends and family on Friday, July 6, 2018, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Grace United Methodist Church, 1705 Cox Road, Wilsons, VA 23894. The Celebration of Life service with military honors was held at Grace UMC on Saturday, July 7, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a light lunch. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given to Society of St. Andrew, 3383 Sweet Hollow Rd., Big Island, Virginia 24526- 8517; or The Salvation Army, 1228 S. West St., Petersburg, VA 23803. www.mcmillianfuneralhome.com

Blackstone Courier Record

111 Maple St.

Blackstone, VA 23824

(434) 292-3019