Ray Anthony Hipps

ray hipps

June 20, 1937 ~ February 2, 2024

Born in: Asheville, NC
Resided in: Leicester, NC

Ray Anthony Hipps, 86 of Leicester, went to his eternal home on February 2, 2024.

Born in Buncombe County to the late William Edward and Gertrude Bridges Hipps, Ray was the last of seven children. He often spoke with fondness and admiration for his brothers, Herman Hipps and Charles Hipps; his sisters, Hilda Corn, Mary Murray, Kathleen Gooch, and Inez Ownbey; and brothers and sisters in law, all of whom preceded him in death.

Ray is survived by his devoted wife of 60 years, Carolyn Blankenship Hipps; sons Rendell Hipps (Kelly) and Nathan Hipps; daughter, Nedda Wallace (Ray); two grandsons, Austin Wallace (Sarah) and Nolan Wallace; his first great granddaughter, Kathryn; and 7 nieces and nephews.

As a boy, Ray accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized at Deaverview Baptist church. The Lord would later call him into the ministry.

Ray joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Second Marine Air Wing. Tours took him to the Middle East, to include Greece and Turkey, as well as the Philippines, Japan, and the Far East. He was released at the rank of Sergeant and spent an additional four years in reserve. Ray was unapologetically proud to be a Marine and would often share stories of his experiences and travels during this time.

After working several years for the NC Forest Service, Ray felt the Lord’s call on his life and began his pursuit of secondary education. He graduated from Fruitland Baptist Bible College, attended Mars Hill College, and graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ray served five western North Carolina churches with a ministry tenure of forty years; and was an active member of the Bi-Vocational Pastors Association.

Undoubtedly, Ray also shared a passion for agriculture and farming. For most of his lifetime, he owned a farming operation to include raising beef cattle, dairy cattle, and tobacco. He was a member of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Burley Stabilization, and Farmers Home Administration.

Ray enjoyed singing, reading, and had quite a knack for remembering dates and recalling historical events. With an appreciation for the hardships from where he came, Ray could often be heard sharing stories of his childhood memories and life’s journey. Through the years he enjoyed helping people, whether it was showing up with groceries, paying for a financial debt, helping cut wood, or meeting another need in some way. Right up until his later days, he was often seen jumping on and off the tractor like a younger man, feeding cattle and mending fence, planting and harvesting crops, and walking and working the land. He was blessed with the ability to work longer than most and knew no other way. We will miss him greatly.

A graveside service will be held at Green Hills Cemetery on Tuesday, February 6th at 1:00 o’clock with Rev. Rendell Hipps officiating. Groce Funeral home will assist the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ray’s honor be made to your local church to further extend the love and work of Christ.


Graveside Service: February 6, 2024 1:00 pm

Green Hills Cemetery
25 New Leicester Hwy.
Asheville, NC 28806


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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  1. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family on Rev. Hipps passing. I am sure there are some great reunions going on in Heaven. He is remembered as a good friend and a great man of God.

  2. Needa,

    I’m so sorry to learn of your seeet dad’s homegoing. I have fond memories of him growing up. I’m praying for you and your family. Sending love and hugs.
    Would love to catch up. 828-707-4757

  3. My condolences to your family. Preacher Hipps was one of the finest men that I ever knew. When I graduated from Marine boot camp in 1985 he drove my Granny and Papaw (Iva and Ralph Hudgins) down to see me graduate. I have very fond memories of him. As a child, anytime that I stayed with Granny we’d be in church on Sunday and he was such a joy to be around. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind where he will spend eternity and as a result of the life that he led, he introduced many many others to the Lord so that they would have that same opportunity. God bless each of you as you deal with the worldly loss but rejoice in the heavenly gain.

  4. Carolyn & family, My prayers are with you at this time. Ray was a sweet man and one of my dad’s best friends. I’m sure they are celebrating in heaven. I loved to hear him preach and loved to talk to him when I would see him. May God bless you and all your family. Ernestine Sams Stone

  5. With sincere sympathy. I will always remember him as the pastor of Morgan Hill Baptist when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Prayers for you and the family.

  6. Carolyn and Family,

    We are so sorry for the loss of Ray but believe there is a celebration in heaven because a special child of God is now with his heavenly Father. Ray was our pastor at Jupiter Baptist Church. He was a loving person with a humble spirit and huge heart for others. His smile would always warm your heart. Ray will be missed but the impact he had on the lives of others will live on. We pray that the loving grace of God will give you peace and comfort. The hope we have in Christ assures us that we will one day be reunited with our family and those whom we love.

    Wayne & Patty Higgins

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