Photography

June Ray

September 29, 1937 ~ March 15, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old

June Ray Obituary

Joliet, Illinois – Junior Ray, age 86, of Joliet, Illinois, passed away on the evening of Friday, March 15, 2024.

Junior is survived by his sons, Roy (Melanie) Smith, Johnny Ray, and Junior Ray II; grandchildren, Sharmika, Willie (Small), Jeremy, Amanda, Ariel, Tyler, Shannon, and Ian; special friends, Julio Rodriguez, Chad Cole, Samuel Lee Stokes Jr., Lynn and Margaret Durant; and numerous great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

His death is preceded by his parents, James “Bus” Ray and Gracie Harris Ray; wife, Louise; sons, Willie and Tony; brothers and sisters, Zanders, Camay, Anna Mae, Bill, JB, Gradie, Thealos (Cat), and his twin, Jim; grandson, Matthew, and partner, Sharon Brumm Power.

Junior met Louise, the love of his life, in Chicago, IL, and they married on December 25, 1962.  In 1971, they moved their family to Joliet, where they remained, raising their five boys, Roy, Willie, Johnny, Junior II, and Tony.

Later in life, Junior shared his life with his partner, Sharon, and relocated to Crown Point, Indiana.  The two were jet setters, traveling all over on well-deserved family vacations and to numerous horse shows. 

Those who know Junior know him to be a kind, gentle, and fiercely loyal spirit; he was patient and thoughtful and would go out of his way to help anyone. His biggest passion in life was horses, and he created an award-winning and illustrious 65+ year career, including an induction into the UPHA National Hall of Fame. His career started at 13, when he ventured from his Charlotte, North Carolina, home base to work at a farm in Ontario, Canada.  Over the years, he maintained several positions in the industry, leading him to partner with Dick and Jeanette Durant in 1963.  In 1965, when Dick and Jeanette opened Bell View Acres in Homer Glen, IL, Junior joined forces with the Durants, and the rest is history. Friends and family would constantly tease Junior, asking when he would retire.  His response was often short but resounding, “Never!” and truly meant it. In 2017, he received the “Gil Romito Director’s Award” from the Mid-America Horse Show Association. Junior continued working both training and hauling horses until he fell ill in 2021.

Outside of work, Junior was an avid horse show-goer and movie enthusiast. At home, he was often laser-focused on a Western film or reading his favorite horse publications.  He loved starting his day with a sweet treat and a cup of coffee as he perused the morning paper.  Junior truly lived by not sweating the small things and steadfastly maintaining his positive demeanor.

 

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Services

Visitation
Thursday
March 21, 2024

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church
1404 S. Briggs Street
Joliet, Illinois 60433

Visitation
Friday
March 22, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church
1404 S. Briggs Street
Joliet, Illinois 60433

Celebration of Life
Friday
March 22, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church
1404 S. Briggs Street
Joliet, Illinois 60433

Interment following funeral service
Friday
March 22, 2024

Mt. Vernon Memorial Estates
11875 Archer Avenue
Lemont, IL 60439

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