Michael Ray, 64, passed away doing what he loved best, being the center of attention. As the youngest of eight children, there was never any shortage of attention for him and if he ever perceived a lack, he would surely make enough noise to rectify the mistake. Mike was a fan of all things fast: cars, motorcycles, grocery store lines, and women and he was ushered into the after life doing one of those, though not the one he would have preferred.
Despite his daughters telling him he was “too old” to be riding motorcycles, he never agreed and was, conveniently, only ever “too old” to do things he didn’t want to, like eating dinner past 4pm. He was a deeply sarcastic man with an often wicked sense of humor and passed these fine qualities on to his daughters, which the youngest used to greet him in the ICU. “Way to stick the landing, Evil Knievel.” The eldest, upon taking possession of his cremains stated, “I’m picking up dad and taking him grocery shopping. He’s been cooped up. I feel like he would like an outing.” The two have decided to split custody of Mike’s “Bag’o’Dad” and have been coordinating outfits for his urn. For years, it was his wish to be scattered in the Chesapeake Bay. Or maybe the mountains? No, at the house. No, the Bay. Alaska? Could we do Alaska? “Hell, I don’t know. Flush me down the toilet for all I care.”
Mike loved nothing more than he loved his girls, his family, and his friends. He was born to Lillian Hogan Ray and James Tilghman Ray in the North Point Village of Baltimore, MD on Flag Day in 1957. He never missed an opportunity to remind people that his birthday was a national holiday. His best memories were made in the row homes of NPV and he made lifelong friends who he loved to harass on a regular basis. There was a substantial age gap between the oldest and youngest child of the family, so he grew up with his nieces and nephews, raising hell but never, ever praising Dale (he was a fan of Jeff Gordon.) He moved with his parents to their homestead in Marion, NC in 1975 to build a home on old family land and once the accent stuck, so did he. As the runt of the litter, Mike sought out another runt as his mate and produced two 1:2 scale daughters, one of which somehow managed to manufacture a 6’2 child. They’re absolutely not at all bitter. After all, the two were handsomely rewarded with the gift of Two Christmases upon the divorce of their Lilliputian parents.
Mike loved drinking cheap beer, flavored vodka, and chasing women. He loved the latter so much that his youngest daughter, at the age of 34, decided to take up the helm. It was a surprise to no one but her. His favorite things in life were scenic views, teaching small children to say terrible things, his dogs, arguing politics with his youngest and berating his oldest for frying eggs like his mother. (His eggs were the best. Cook them low and slow, folks. Low and slow.) He loved horseback riding, motorcycles, wood fires, a cold room to sleep in, classic rock, good food, questionable dates, a good hat, comfortable shoes, traveling, Maryland blue crabs, Old Bay on everything, the Orioles, old Westerns, and complaining about things. And most importantly, his only grandson, Hunter, The Boy Child, the one who hoarded all the height for himself, and the one who inherited his Papaw’s love of attention. Michael would like to remind Hunter that he really would have made a very pretty girl.
He is survived by his daughters, Celia (if you put my middle name in there, I will stab you) Worley (Chris) of Union Mills, NC, Heather Ray (Kat) of Chapel Hill, NC, three grandchildren Hunter Matayabas, Katherine Worley, and Tiffany Gouge all of Union Mills, NC. His favorite children Ellie Mae (Doberwoman) and Mojo (Cannonball with Legs), granddogs Mick (Moose) and Lucy (Goose), and Milo (Softboi). His sisters Pat Martin (Richard) and Julia/Judy Kamberger (Ed) of Baltimore, MD, Mary Valentine (Jim) of Felton, PA, and brother Jim Ray (Joann) of Marion, NC and innumerable nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is predeceased by his parents Lillian and James Ray, brothers Bobby (Debbie), Terry (Kathy), and Jerry (Pat) Ray, nephews Mark and Greg Ray, and granddog Diesel.
In lieu of flowers, Celia and Heather ask that you instead make donations in his name to your local animal shelter or Doberman, German Shepherd, or Pitbull rescues. Services will be planned and announced in the spring.
~Written by the family~