Ray Mason Bland, Jr. passed away August 9, 2013 on the 72nd anniversary of his marriage to Hazel Norena Lamme. He was born September 4, 1919 to Ray and Gertrude Merrell Bland.
Orphaned at age 13, Ray was raised in a foster home before being adopted by his aunt and uncle, Nancy and Byron Bland. He married his lifelong sweetheart, Hazel, on August 9, 1941 and was promptly drafted by the U.S. Army. He was serving his country in the Pacific when World War II ended.
Ray was initially employed as a laborer at Harbison-Walker Refractories in Vandalia, Mo.. He steadily worked his way up in the company, until he reached the highest administrative position that someone without a college education could attain. Upon retirement, he fulfilled a life-long dream to attend college and enrolled as a regular freshman at the University of Missouri.
He happily endured good-natured ribbing from friends and family about his prospects for employment after college, but nevertheless, took his coursework seriously and made straight A’s. Always a humble man, he never realized that he was probably a more successful investor than his college finance professors. Known for his impeccable manners and appearance throughout his life, Ray Bland was the epitome of a gentleman.
He was an active member and Elder of the Presbyterian Church in Vandalia, until he and Hazel retired to pursue golf full-time in Fairfield Bay, Ark
Affectionately called “Smoothie” by his golfing buddies for his easy swing, he was a scratch golfer well into his eighties. Ray quit playing golf only when his beloved Hazel was no longer well enough to join him. Ray and Hazel then returned to Missouri to enjoy the care of their grandchildren, Branden and Tina. Ray spent the last few years of his life steadfastly by Hazel’s bedside, never wavering in his remarkable devotion to her.
He is survived by his adored and adoring family: wife Hazel; daughters Vicki Thompson and Nancy Dahl; grandchildren: Devin and Thornton Thompson; Branden Boise and wife Tina; Cristian Boise and partner Jeffrey McNeilly; and great-grandsons Mason and Gage Boise. Graveside Services for Ray Bland will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, September 2, 2013 at the Riverside Cemetery in Warsaw, Mo. Memorial contributions may be made to the memorial fund of the Presbyterian Kirk of the Hills, 250 Dave Creek Parkway, Fairfield Bay, Ark. 72088.