Milton Ray Turner was born on March 12, 1929 in Edgewood, Texas, the fourth of seven children of Augusta and Henry Jack Turner. He spent his early childhood in Edgewood and Wills Point, Texas. Jack Turner disappeared when the children were still young and Augusta raised her seven children during the heart of the Great Depression, instilling in them a strong faith in God and optimistic attitude. These two attributes were very evident in Ray throughout his lifetime.
Ray moved with his mother and three sisters to Buckner orphan home, where his mother was hired to work, in 1943. Daddy was accustomed to being free to wander in the countryside and hunt small game. Buckner provided a loving and caring and environment for the family, but the restricted lifestyle was difficult for Ray.
Ray later went to live with his Aunt Eddie while he finished high school. After graduating from high school, Ray attended college at night while he worked as an “office helper” with Sun Oil Company.
Ray married Betty Aline Dozier on March 12, 1948, his nineteenth birthday. Ray moved up in the ranks with Sun Oil, living in Dallas, Texas and MacAllen, Texas and eventually being transferred to South America. The family lived in Colombia for about two years, and later moved to Maracaibo, Venezuela. The years living in Maracaibo were some of the sweetest years for Ray and Betty and their family. Ray and Betty were active members of Faith Baptist Church in Maracaibo, where Ray was a deacon and loved to sing the tenor part in a men’s quartet. They made many life long friends in Maracaibo with fellow employees, church members as well as missionary friends who lived and served in Venezuela.
In 1967 Ray took early retirement from Sun Oil and the family moved back to Dallas where Ray worked and completed his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Dallas Baptist University.
In 1970 Ray and Betty followed their calling and joined the Southern Baptist Mission Board (now the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention) as associate missionaries to Ecuador, with Ray using his business skills running the business aspect of the Ecuadorian mission. Ray served for three years in this capacity, when he returned to the oil industry with Texaco, working in the jungles of Ecuador. The family returned to the United States in 1974 where Ray continued working in the oil industry and earned his Masters of Science in Business Administration at the University of Dallas. Ray also taught college Accounting classes at North Lake College in Irving, Texas.
In 1985 Ray and Betty were re-appointed to serve with the Foreign Mission Board (now IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention in Ecuador as Logistics Coordinator until their retirement in 1994. One of Ray’s greatest joys during those years was traveling to the town of Nanegal, Ecuador where they shared the Gospel and planted a church.
Following Ray’s retirement, Ray and Betty moved to Granbury, Texas. He continued to volunteer for Southern Baptist missions for many years, taking on short assignments in South and Central America, and working at the Baptist Spanish Publishing House (Publicaciones Mundo Hispano) in El Paso, Texas. Ray and Betty were members of Acton Baptist Church. He volunteered through the church giving financial stewardship advice, traveled on many mission trips, and worked in the after school program. Ray and Betty continued to travel during retirement, taking several trips to Alaska, and memorable trips to the Holy Land and Russia, which Ray loved to talk about for many years.
In 2016 Ray and Betty moved to Carrollton, Texas where they joined Royal Haven Baptist church. Ray sang in the choir and volunteered with the i58 program there. Being in close proximity to Brenda, Rita and Diana afforded the family lots of opportunities to be together
Ray was a very outgoing person and one of his greatest joys was being with his family, his children and grandchildren as well as special visits with friends from over the years. He also had an adventurous spirit and loved to travel and explore new places. In his spare time Ray loved to watch sports, research investments, and read books on history and business.
In Ray’s later years, he suffered from several chronic conditions. In the last several years he grieved deeply over the loss of Betty, his wife of 74 years, and his daughter Rita. In spite of these challenges Ray always maintained his sense of humor and loved to tell jokes to make us all laugh, even in his final hours. Ray died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
Ray is preceded in death by his mother, Augusta Turner Hitt and Stepfather Arley Hitt, His wife Betty Aline Turner, his daughter Rita Kay Moles, his granddaughter Sherri Melton, and by his sisters, Anna Merle Douthit, Doris Lamb, and Edith Turner Day Guadagno.
Ray is survived by his daughter, DianaTurner, her husband David Casey, their son Chris and daughter in law Gianella, his daughter Penny Stamps, her husband Keith Stamps, their son Timothy Stamps and his wife Elisa Ann, and their three children, Sahara, Tristan and Silas, and Keith and Penny’s daughter, Angela Stamps, his daughter Brenda Turner, his great granddaughter Tosha Reesor, and his great great granddaughter Daniella Reesor. He is also survived by two of his sisters, Mary Jackson, and Eva Nell Kimler Jackson, and his brother Douglas Turner, along with his many nieces and nephews.
Visitation on Monday, April 24, 2023 at 11:30 am and a funeral service at 12:30 pm at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home. Committal service will be at Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park followed by a reception at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home.
If desired, donations may be made in his memory to the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, i58 at i58ministry.com, or an organization of your choice
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.bluebonnethills.com for the Turner family.