Donald Ray Wade

August 13, 1944September 8, 2020

Donald "Ray" Wade passed away on the morning of Tuesday September 8th, 2020. After growing up in Mobile, Alabama, Ray received a BA in Philosophy from Auburn University and went on to receive a Doctorate of Ministry from the Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville KY in the early 1980s. In 1970 Ray moved to South Carolina and was minister to several churches in Barnwell and Allendale counties. Ray founded the Barnwell County Developmental Center in 1975, where he served as Executive Director for 15 years. He moved to Columbia, SC in 1988, to accept the position as Director of Community Programs at SC Dep. of Disabilities and Special Needs and to marry Carol (nee Flannery) his wonderful wife of 32 years.

Ray loved to be outdoors; hunting, fishing, camping and hiking and was a SC Master Naturalist with state-wide certification from the Clemson Extension. He was an avid nature photographer, serving on the board of the Carolina Nature Photographers Association, founding the CNPA’s Conservation Photography program and creating cooperative programs with the Master Naturalists. He was an enthusiastic musician, singing, playing guitar, clarinet, accordion, and harmonica.

But mostly, Ray helped people. As a minister, as a mental health professional, as a counselor and as a friend he touched hundreds of lives and always tried to leave things better than he found them. He will be remembered by his wife, Carol, the families of his two sons Bryan and Jason wade and his stepsons Evan Alexander and Brian Alexander.

Memorials may be made in Ray's name to Sara Green, South Carolina Wildlife Federation, 455 St. Andrews Rd Suite B1, Columbia, SC 29210.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Donald Ray Wade

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mark Riffle

September 18, 2020

I met Ray 25 years ago while working at SCDDSN. He twice took me pheasant hunting in Laurens. The really cool part was I use a wheelchair and Ray suggested riding in the back of his pickup while the dogs worked. then when they pointed he would drive over close so I could take a shot. Much fun, and a GREAT memory of a multi-talented, generous soul !!

Rev Jerry and Linda (Lynn) Branham

September 17, 2020

So sorry to hear of Dr Wade’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Brent Koyle

September 17, 2020

Carol, I was saddened to read of the passing of Ray. I considered it a privilege to work with both of you and serve some of the people with disabilities in our state. You were both so authentic and devoted in your love and service to them. Ray was an effective administrator that was well respected. I always knew him to be honest and moral.

I have appreciated the few times our paths crossed after retirement. It was always inspiring to hear of your trips/activities in nature and with photography.

Pam and I extend our sympathies to you and will pray for you as you mourn your great loss.

Teri Carter

September 16, 2020

I will really miss his smile No words will express how much he was loved and appreciated by all that had the pleasure of spending time with him
His love for his wife was always evident --a true gentleman

Pamela Jolley

September 11, 2020

Love to you all. Ray was a great friend to Leonard, and Ray and Carol did their best to take care of me in Leonard’s absence. He will be missed so much but he gave us such good memories and love.

Jean Prothro

September 11, 2020

Carol, I am so sad. During this terrible time of pandemic I feel that we will never normalize with the loss of Ray. He was such a special, brilliant man with such caring and sensitivity to nature as well as people. I am mindful that you both and your entire family have suffered so much, especially in the weeks leading to Ray's passing. I wish you healing, send my love and deep respect, and look forward with all my heart to seeing you again soon out in the natural world that brings us all together. Jean Prothro


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