Ray Elden Anders was born February 23, 1925 in the Newfound Community in Leicester, NC. He was the son of the late Joseph Pinkney and Madie Hall Anders. His siblings gone before him are: Lura Stamey, Della Morgan, Blanche West, Ruby Terry, Belva Butler and brothers Homer, Edgar and Glenn Anders.
Ray was drafted in February just after his 18th birthday before graduating from high school to serve in WWII. Through a mix up with his orders, he ended up being sent to basic training in Seattle, Washington instead of Fort Bragg, NC. After basic training, Ray took a train ride to New York City to board the Queen Elizabeth sailing for Great Britain. Although Ray was not in direct combat, he saw the result of war. He was assigned to the 603 Graves Registration Unit who were responsible for burying the casualties and laying out the cemeteries in England and France. Ray helped lay out the Champagnole Cemetery in France with 35, 000 hand dug graves. Ray was in the reserves and called back to serve in the Korean War 1950-1953 and assigned to the Training Operations Unit in Ft. Leatherwood, MO and the Orlando AFB in Florida.
During Ray's military service in Europe, he received a picture of Hiawatha from a friend back home. Ray began writing to her over the course of 2 years. When Ray's military service ended, he made his way straight to Sandy Mush to meet Hiawatha Black in January 1946. They were married April 21, 1946.
Ray loved her more than life itself and shared over 70 years together before she departed on January 3, 2017.
Ray & Hiawatha have a son Michael (Joyce) and a daughter Raymelle. Their beautiful granddaughters: Rebecca Marsh (Chuck), Alicia Chapman (Keith), and Ashley Willis (Travis), that provided them with great-grandchildren: Grayson & Aaron, Kyle & Karsyn, Ellison & Josie.
Ray received his Land Surveyors license in 1960 and founded Ray E. Anders & Associates, and retired in 1992. The governor appointed him to serve on the NC Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Surveyors for 10 years. Ray held positions of president, secretary & treasurer in the NC Society of Land Surveyors-Western Chapter. He also served on the Board of Trustees for Eliada Home for Children from 1988-1998.
One of Ray's dreams was to fly a plane. He obtained his pilot's license in 1971 and was quite active in the NC Pilots Association and Civil Air Patrol. On several occasions, Ray responded to emergencies of downed planes looking for survivors. Many people in the community will remember their first plane ride he provided for them.
Ray loved the Lord and loved helping others whenever he could. Serving with the NC Layman's Foundation, traveling weekends to different churches in the southeast to spread the teachings of Jesus.
Another ministry close to his heart was teaching Sunday school and sponsoring inmates at Craggy Correctional Center. Every Saturday he would pick them up and spend the day with them.
Ray was also an active member at Westwood-Faith Baptist Church.
Ray went to be with his Lord on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.
Visitation with the family will be on Saturday, May 20th at Westwood-Faith Baptist Church, 150 Westwood Pl, Asheville, NC, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The funeral service will follow at 4:00 p.m. Burial will be at Paynes Chapel Cemetery, Sandy Mush Creek Rd, Leicester, with the Reverend Richard Baird presiding.
Honoree pallbearers: Dale Cipar & David Ingle.
Thanks and appreciation to all who loved Ray with support and care and especially those who supported Raymelle these last few months: Stephanie Flynn, Stacey Lynd, Gail Lynd, and Junior Revis, best friend Joy Cipar, grand-daughters Ashley & Alicia, nephew Kenneth Anders who was Ray's taxi and Jerry Mears for making sure he got to church on time. Special Thanks to Gus, Wendy & Sheila at the Leicester Restaurant who fed him many meals and whom he loved dearly.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Paynes Chapel Cemetery Fund, c/o Dan Worley, 557 New Leicester Hwy, Asheville, NC 28806.