Gabriel Ray, 59, of Springdale, died Sunday, September 1, 2019. Gabriel Ray, known by Sweetie to his wife; daddy to his daughter; Gabriel to his sister and brothers and in-laws; and Uncle Gabriel and Uncle Gabe to his nieces and nephews was born November 12, 1959 in Harlem, New York to Johnetta Ray and Ernest Rhodes. He attended Fredrick Douglas Academy and the High School of Art and Design in New York. The family moved to DeWitt, Arkansas in 1975. Gabriel graduated from DeWitt High School in 1978 and attended UAPB in 1978. He joined the US Navy in 1978 and served as an Electrician Mate until 1982. Gabriel attended the U of A Fayetteville in 1983. He is also a graduate from Northwest Technical Institute where he studied Automotive Mechanics. He was a licensed automotive mechanic. As a child, he attended The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
Gabriel’s joy was his family. He enjoyed catching up with his sister and brothers every chance he got. He was a wonderful loving husband who loved his wife dearly and a “cool” dad who absolutely adored his daughter Kaisha. Gabriel loved everyone. He was the type of person who would literally give you the shirt off his back if you needed it in order to help you out. Often you would find him using his truck to help friends and family members with moves across town. Gabriel was a huge-hearted man who loved and respected his mother, the late Johnetta Ray.
He was formerly employed by Campbell Soup Industries in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Kawneer in Springdale, Arkansas; and Superior Industries in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
In 1992, Gabriel met his match – Mona Ray. Gabriel and Mona dated for many years and fell in love. In 1998, they got married and started building a life together. In 2002, the love of both their lives came along – Kaisha Shereece Ray. Gabriel loved that child so much that if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that he gave birth to her. When she was born, he immediately placed her on his chest – skin to skin and began an inseparable bond with her. He loved Kaisha with all his heart. He enjoyed just listening to her talk and she thought he was just the coolest dad.
He was smart and loved math. Gabriel enjoyed art, music, nature, cooking, traveling, working on cars and trucks. He kept current with local and world news, politics, and the stock market. He was known as our family’s “Navigator.”
Gabriel’s smile, laughter, infectious laugh, and sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him. He was a good kind hearted man.
He was preceded in death by his loving mother Johnetta Ray and his dad Ernest Rhodes.
He leaves to cherish his memories his wife Ramona (Mona) Smith Ray of 21 years; his daughter Kaisha Shereece Ray; three brothers: Ross David Ray of Avon, Ohio; Solomon (Sue) Ray of Ellenwood, Georgia; Sampson Ray of San Diego, California; and one sister (twin of Sampson Ray) Delilah Ray-Graham of Tallahassee, Florida. A mother-n-law who truly loved him as her own son – Merlene Smith, Waldo, Arkansas. Brother-n-laws/Sister-n-laws: Robert Earl (Gail) Smith; Raymond (Renee) Valley; Kenneth (Renita) Ward; and Ronald (Doris) Smith. Nieces/Nephews: KeShaun Johnson, Kassidy Fanning, Pamela Ray, LaTesha Fanning, Solomon Ray Jr, Breonna Ray, Milo Graham, Gabriel Ray (named after Uncle Gabriel), Robert Avery Smith, Curtis Martez Standoak, Jasmine Smith, Shauntrae Smith, Marissa Valley, Maynard Valley, Jeremy Smith, Matthew Ward, Nicholas Ward, Dante Ridgell, Ashton Smith, Caleb Smith, Marley Rodriquez, and Perciphone Smith. A special cool OG Group of friends: Raymond Valley, Leon Thomas, Terry Howard, Wilson Dubois, Larry White, and Redell Thompson, Lawrence Fox Smith.