Leslie Ray Lynn Jr.

May 26, 1930September 2, 2020
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Leslie Ray Lynn, Jr.

90, passed away in his sleep at the Altenheim Long Term Care Center at 1:45 a.m. on September 2, 2020. His wife, Iva (Strandlund) of 68 years; daughter, Lori; daughter, Jodi (husband Kent) Barth; and three grandchildren, Kirsten, Kyle and Katie Barth; and sister, Carol (husband Fred) Carra survive him. His father, Leslie R. Lynn, Sr.; mother, Mildred; brother, Gaylord; sister, Noreen (Poehler); and brother, Lee preceded him in death.


Ray was known for: giving the best big bear hugs, his love of telling jokes and stories, sharing his love and faith, the enjoyment he got out of teasing and eating desserts, especially pie. He was an avid reader and his home was always filled with the smell of books from the walls of bookshelves. He loved learning for the sake of learning whether it was Hebrew, Greek, or German languages, playing the saxophone or tuba, to learning how to ride motorcycles, or teaching horses to do tricks. He was definitely a people-person and a great lover of horses. [He started the first youth Bible Saddle Camp in Indiana.] He had a special way of making joyous occasions more joyful and sad or difficult occasions more meaningful and tolerable. He had a knack for helping people feel better and more hopeful after talking to him. He encouraged everyone to find ways to keep improving and learning. He had an amazing ability to connect and communicate with people of all ages. He especially had a soft spot for young people, and they all seemed to naturally gravitate to him.


Ray was born on May 26, 1930 in Faribault, Minnesota. His father was a dairy farmer. Ray worked on the farm and after graduating from Medford High School in 1948, his father gave him $85 from a milk check advance to help with his school expenses at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was a part of a gospel team and would travel on the weekends to different churches to preach, sing, and provide music.

Ray was part of the Summer Gospel team that traveled on weekends. They conducted Vacation Bible School with the Native Americans and others. In the summer of 1949, Ray met Iva at Karlstad Baptist Church where he gave a sermon and played saxophone for a Youth Rally for surrounding churches in the area. He later confessed that he only knew two songs at that time. He would practice playing saxophone for hours in the boiler room of the college. Iva sang while her sister, Alice, played piano in the afternoon for the youth meetings. Later that night, Iva wrote in her diary about that young minister. She said he was a good storyteller and seemed not to know a stranger. He had a zest for life, told jokes, and she was especially attracted to his boundless enthusiasm. (It didn’t hurt that he was really good looking, too.)

On June 21, 1952, Ray and Iva married in the Roseau Baptist Church in Minnesota. Ray received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota that year.

In 1953 Ray and Iva moved from St. Paul to Louisville, KY. Ray completed seminary and received his ministerial ordination in the General Baptist Church on October 21, 1956. While in the Paoli General Baptist District, he was a minister for churches in Samaria, Whitaker, and Princeton, Indiana.

In August 1956 Ray received an opportunity to obtain an Oakland City College job that was connected with the General Baptist denomination as a part-time minister at the General Baptist Church and as a half-time college teacher, teaching psychology, philosophy, Bible and religion. The family moved to

Oakland City into a duplex. Ray loved to travel and had a natural curiosity about people, other cultures and decided to go to Russia during Kruschev’s Cold War.

Ray accepted the ministerial position at the First General Baptist Church in Princeton, Indiana. Ray created Potential Unlimited, a program designed for businessmen to enhance their leadership and interpersonal relationship skills. A man he knew in the Furniture Factory in Jasper had a plane and believed in the benefit of Ray’s program so much that he flew Ray around to various locations around the country so he could teach Potential Unlimited.

The family moved into Indiana University Student Housing in Hoosier Courts and Ray started to work in the Human Resources Department at Sarkes Tarzian in Bloomington, Indiana. After all bills were deducted for the week, he earned a net of $15.00 with a wife who was a full-time student and two young daughters.

While preaching at Samaria and Whitaker, Ray taught two classes at Ballantine Hall – many students audited his religious comparison course – comparing Zen Buddhism to Christianity.

On June 13, 1963, he was accepted and certified as a United Methodist minister. He became the minister at both Bowling Green and Fatch Chapel. At Indiana University, while pursuing a doctorate degree, he was a professor at the I.U. School of Religion and taught philosophy and religion.

Ray was transferred to Harrodsburg, Indiana and was a minister at the Harrodsburg United Methodist Church for a year. He purchased a horse and pony and enjoyed teaching his two young daughters how to ride and love horses as much as he did. He took an educational trip to Israel on an archeological dig.

Ray was transferred to Evansville University as the Chaplain of Neu Chapel in Evansville, Indiana in 1969 where he stayed for six years. For four years, he took students to Europe. Ray created “the coffee house,” a place for students and young people to go and safely enjoy entertainment of reciting poetry, singing, and playing instruments.

He was transferred to Columbus, Indiana where he enjoyed working with Sr. Rev. Joe Emerson. As an associate minister he delighted in working with the youth groups.

He then moved to Indianapolis and was the minister at Chapel Hill UMC. From there he was the senior minister at Fishers UMC. While at Fishers United Methodist Church, he created the first Indiana youth Bible Saddle Camp and brought many young people to Christ through this ministry. This Bible Saddle Camp continued for many years. He then was the senior minister at Bedford UMC where he retired (the first time).

He came out of retirement 4 more times to do the following:

* Ray worked at Glenburn Retirement Home in Linton, Indiana as a song leader, tour guide, and minister. He conducted many excursion tours for the entertainment of the Glenburn residents.

* Minister at Bellaire United Methodist church in Indianapolis, IN

* Minister at East 10th Street United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, IN

* Short term minister at Brookside United Methodist Church

He truly retired on October 20, 2015. He lived a long, fulfilling life.


In lieu of flowers, Ray asked that gifts be made to the youth program at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church where he and Iva became members upon his retirement. (The easiest way is to call St. Luke's at 317-846-3404 or mail a check with the memo "Youth-In Memory of Ray Lynn" to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, W. 100 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260), or a make a memorial gift to the church of your choice.


For your safety and the safety of others we do require that masks be worn in out Funeral Home at all times.



  • Memorial Gathering

    Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Celebration of Life Service

    Friday, September 25, 2020


  • Burial


Leslie Ray Lynn Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Iva Lynn

November 27, 2020

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3

We called this our “Life Verse” because of the way so many things happened in our lives — how me met; how we clicked; how we enjoyed each other; our similar backgrounds; same age; and similar beliefs.

He brought a whole different picture of my life that I wasn’t expecting. I recall writing in my diary, “Lord, you answer prayers, but I didn’t think it would be so soon!” Over the years, we changed and grew together, not always at the same pace, but that is what made life interesting, too.

Jodi Barth

November 27, 2020

When I Think about My Dad
from Jodi Barth
When I think about my dad I think of how much I learned from him through his words, actions, and faith.
He had a great sense of humor, was playful, and quick to laugh.
He was optimistic even when things seemed bleak. I learned not to give up with Dad’s encouragement.
He helped me navigate those difficult times in which doing the right thing is not necessarily popular with others. And YET I feel much happier within knowing I am living with integrity.
With Dad being a minister, I grew up with church, God, and faith as a foundation. This made a huge impact on me. We would pray at dinner and at family gatherings. Faith has been a key factor to my life thanks to my dad and mom.
I fondly remember Sunday lunch. We would often have baked chicken and baked potatoes. We would pray together. Once we finished eating I would go over and sit on Dad’s lap while we continued talking, sharing, and laughing together.
Many times I would go to Dad to tell him things that were on my mind. He was a good listener and often gave helpful ideas on ways to deal with some of those difficult times I was experiencing. I loved when we would go horseback riding and talk (pretty much I did the talking).
Dad knew how to make others feel special. Even as I got older I always liked it when he would periodically call me ‘Guppy’, ‘Gup’, or ‘Gup Dup’. During some of our last conversations when he was feeling pretty miserable, there were times when we were quiet and after a bit Dad would whisper, “I love Jodi.” I would respond, “I love Dad,” as tears streamed down my face (or as Dad would say my eyes were leaking).
-I find this scripture helpful and hopeful: 1 Corinthians 15: 50-58
-I will miss my dad, AND I am so thankful he is at peace and at Home with God.

Brian Poehler

September 30, 2020

My Uncle Ray was an amazing individual and very special uncle! I loved his stories, his sense of humor and just having conversations about so many topics with him. My experiences at Bible and Saddle Camp with him when I was growing up are cherished memories. My family was also blessed to get to know my Uncle Ray as well. He had a way of making everyone feel special. The photo is from our visit to Indianapolis for Alex's soccer tournament a few years ago. The love of family is forever. He will be missed so much, but he will never be forgotten!

Adrian Adams

September 30, 2020

Uncle Ray
When we both were just toddlers you lovingly gave us our nicknames. Both of us had a special connection with you.
Every time we say our prayers that you wrote to the goodnight or goodbye ritual of a kiss and a bop we will be reminded of you and your love.

We will miss you!
We love you!
Here is your kiss and a bop!
Macman and Munchkin

Adrian Adams

September 29, 2020

Uncle Ray / Chief Where do I begin?
I have never written about the man who started as my uncle but became so much more then most uncles that I referred to him as dad many times of the years.
Along the way he became Chief. I am not sure when and where that started but it always seemed fitting to me.
You were the person I turned to from a early age.
Whether it was falling down a flight of stairs as a young boy to falling off a horse. To laying a motorcycle down or wrecking a car, it was always you I looked to.
You were the one I could go to no matter what.
I always knew you would listen, understand, give me honest answers and certainly give me direction.
You were the first call in times of trouble and the first call in times of joy. Well, many of my life's joys you were there for so no need to call.
You walked me through relationship struggles.
You guided me as I thought about marriage.
You were the first person Tammy and I talked to when we found out we were going to be parents.
You were there for every important event in my life.
Graduations / Family Vacations / Wedding / Birth of both kids / Death of my own Dad / Holidays
We had many adventures together over the years.
Wow, did we ever have a blast!
I remember so clearly our late night motorcycle rides after you would have a meeting or I would get off work. We would ride to our favorite diner to have pie and coffee and talk about the day.
The many Bible Saddle Camps over the years.
If it were not for doing Bible Saddle Camp with you I may not have met Tammy and have the joy I have today with my family.
I learned so many things from you over the years. It started with family first. My faith in God. Love. Fatherhood. Being a husband.
There are so many life lessons that I have learned from you that I am sure I don't have the space here to list them all.
I know that my heart aches from missing you already but you are at peace now and for that I am grateful. I love you!

Kent Barth

September 28, 2020

I remember the first time I met Ray how quickly he made me feel welcome. The entire time I knew him, always a handshake and an enthusiastic greeting when I saw him. He had such a great sense of humor. I will miss seeing him introduce Iva as his "first wife".
He never met a stranger. I recall walking into a restaurant he would often go to. We walked in and half of the wait staff saying "Hey Ray" as we walked in the door. He gave them a wave as we walked in. We shared many small round donut holes from the buffet line. He loved to laugh, and we did often.
I always admired the closeness of their family. They kept in touch throughout each week. Jodi and Lori would go over to Ray and Iva's for dinner one night a week and used to stay over. On one occasion I got a call from them as to what I was doing. I gave a very dishonest and specific answer that I had just finished cleaning the first bathroom and was starting on the second. From that point forward he always want to know if I was cleaning.
Jodi spoke often to me about his influence and guidance through the years. He had a profound impact on her growth and development as a person, growing up with church, God, and faith as a foundation. The Bible is clear on the importance of parents that guide us "But if anyone does not provide for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim 5:8).
I have had the opportunity to read through some of his sermons from his ministry. It was a unique opportunity to get to know him long before I knew him. He always incorporated real world and historical components to his sermons.
Rest in Peace Ray … thank you for all the memories, fun and laughter and family environment you provided. Your own words have been helpful to all of us at this time, knowing we will meet again is comforting. - “One life in which death is not final.” (April 20, 2003 – An Easter Sermon - Rev. Ray Lynn)

Barbara Taylor

September 28, 2020

Thanks Ray for being a wonderful brother and mentor to our dear Lee and being a great friend, support and brother-in-law to me... RIP

Deb Strandlund-Krein

September 28, 2020

Rest In Peace my sweet, wonderful and mischievous Uncle Ray!! The memories I have of your annual summer visits when I was a kid are some of the best of my life!! Playing badminton; going on our fun picnics; you always having two pieces of Mom’s pies and not caring if Auntie Iva caught you; going to the DQ and you putting straws in our ice cream cones; to driving super fast down the gravel roads and then slamming on the breaks just to make sure that we were “awake”!! Your famous phrase of “I’m very pleased to meet you” is still a classic!! You were a wonderful minister and counselor and had such a strong love for your God, your family and your friends!! I will forever miss you but I know that I will see you again one day!! I Love You!!

Lori Lynn

September 21, 2020

My Dad
… was a poet, a preacher, a dreamer and teacher.
He treasured all of his four-legged pals – especially Arabian, Ceba and palomino, Major who he rode and enjoyed the beauty of nature.
His enthusiasm was contagious; his jokes were outrageous and some of his stories would go on for ages.
He had a knack with words and phrasing, and a big heart for sharing.
He was a good listener and responded with love and sincere caring.
One thing he had a tough go with… (he tried four times) was final retirement.
You could tell him your troubles and he’d give you hope and encouragement;
He had your back; and say you had what it took to get through it.
He grieved for those who were maligned and wounded in spirit.
One balmy summer night in mid-August, I sat outside his window
(Months without hugs or kisses due to COVID-19, as you know).
We recalled family gatherings, trips, people and horses he loved so.
I read many poems he wrote for loved ones over the years.
We laughed at his humor and for his sentiments, we shared tears.
He was especially good about saying, “I love you.”
And let’s just say that Patience was not his virtue.
His blue twinkling eyes… I know I’ll miss them, too.
It felt so good to see him brighten up when you’d walk through the door.
Those are a few of the things I’ll cherish since they won’t be around anymore.
We watched him weaken and prepare for his final trip Home,
We saw him beam as he got slimmer and how he stopped using his phone.
When I was a child. He was my fortress, my hero, safe haven and rock.
He introduced me to his friend he called Jesus, with whom we’re all blessed to talk.
Each of us knew him in our own special way.
One thing is certain, there was no one like Ray.
I know he wasn’t perfect. He was flawed, as all of us are,
Now he’s in God’s hands, free of pain, a bright shining star
Filling our hearts with light and love, and even while we’re sad,
My sister and I are daughters who are proud to say he was our Dad.

Jim and Rowena Mount

September 12, 2020

Pastor Ray Lynn was in Bedford when our children were in high school and college. Later in 1999 and 2000, he married both of them.