He was the best of men and fathers. I have no doubt of his destination. He is now with the angels and saints worshiping God in heaven. Being a Christian was his whole life. One cannot discuss my father without recalling that Jesus Christ was the heart of his life.
I remember as a boy he would buy two ice cream cones, walk out and sit on the sidewalk next to a poor man. He gave him the ice cream and said, “While you enjoy the ice cream, let me tell you about Jesus.” That was the heart of my father.
When Ford Motor Company wanted to promote him he would ask, “Would it mean working more hours and Saturdays?” They said, “Yes.” He then responded every time, “I am sorry I have to decline. I have three boys at home that need me more than Ford Motor Company does.”
Saturdays were always for us boys. Dad’s hobby and sport was the family. He worked, took us to church and the rest of his time was with the family.
He bought us a pony, built a 15 foot swing set and tree fort, put up a pool, built a little barn, worked in our garden, watched the birds, took us for endless walks in the woods and more than anything else he read us books. Every evening he read us books and told us stories.
Pneumonia hit him two weeks ago today and antibiotics couldn’t whip it. He was too weak. We had three priests come in to pray for him and anoint him. I prayed along with them and said, “Lord, if he is deficient in anything, give it to him now through the hands and words of your priests and through his faith and the Catholic faith of his family.”
We love knowing of his love for Jesus and in the end, when he could only whisper, he pointed up and struggling to breath whispered, “I believe now more than ever.”
Charles Robert Ray died peacefully at 4:20 AM in his own bed with my daughter Emily holding his hand and singing to him about Jesus and praying the Rosary. Janet and I were in an airplane heading home and arrived shortly after he died. But we had a blessed two hours with my mom and my kids and my siblings. We hugged and kissed him as his body grew stiff and cold. And then they zipped him into the vinyl bag and took him away.
He taught me how to live, and now – how to die. He will be missed. Thanks Dad for being a real father, for loving us, working hard without ever complaining, caring for us, being an example and leading us to Christ. He is adored by his grandkids and his great grandkids. I am who I am today because of my dad and mom.
In the dedication to my first book I wrote, “To my parents, Charles and Fran Ray, who raised me in a godly Evangelical home, who taught me to love the Lord, who spent untold hours praying for me, and who gave me a passion for truth and learning (see 2 Timothy 3:15).”
Thanks to everyone for your prayers. We have a special Facebook page in his honor.