Last Monday morning at approximately 10:30, I received a call from Red Bay telling me my good friend Ray Kuykendall was at the point of death. I left immediately to be with my buddy during his last hours.
I believe he recognized me, but he was having a very difficult time in the time he had left.
He passed away Jan. 22 at the Red Bay Nursing Home.
Ray was 82 years old. We have been friends for many years, and at one time he worked with us at Bolton Furniture.
Ray was a real planner, and he always welcomed every project that was put before him. Ray had planned his funeral many years ago, and he told me I was to have a part in it. I was honored that I had the opportunity to carry out his plans.
There are so many good things I remember about Ray. One thing that really stands out: He liked to carry on a conversation, and he always had “clean speech.” I can never remember him saying a dirty word.
As I said, he was a real planner, and he had many “likes” that I shared with those attending the funeral. One of his favorite foods was Vienna sausage. He liked bean soup, the country music singer Patsy Cline and Belgreen basketball.
He was responsible for organizing the Belgreen All-Stars, a group of players from years gone by who would return each year for a game at the Belgreen gym.
Thanks to Eddie Britton for allowing access to the gym on many occasions.
David Strickland did a remarkable job with his part of the service, telling stories about Ray from years gone by.
Ray always told me he wanted Brother Silas Oliver to preach his funeral, and Silas did a marvelous job in his remarks about Ray.
The funeral was held at Cedar Creek Baptist Church. I believe the folks from that part of the county are some the finest people I know. They always have a way of making everyone feel welcome.
It was a rather sad day but a happy day as well. The service was carried out in a very professional manner, and everything Ray had planned for took place, just as he planned it would.
I can almost hear him say, “Boy, we had a good one” – and didn’t we!
Thanks for the memory Ray. Rest in peace, my friend.
Till next time,