Brown-Wynne Funeral Home & Crematory

300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC


Edwin Ray Strickland

December 8, 1930May 18, 2020

Edwin Ray Strickland (Ray), devoted husband of Helen and beloved father of Donna Benton and Debra (Debbie) Bergold, died May 18 in Raleigh from natural causes. He was 89.

Ray was born in Sampson County, NC on December 8,1930. He was a graduate of Mingo High School. When he was 16 he met Helen Heath and they wed in 1950. They had a very loving marriage for almost 70 years.

In 1952, Ray entered the Navy and was based in San Diego, CA until he was honorably discharged in 1956. After he left the Navy, he and Helen moved to Fayetteville, where Ray was hired as a civilian at Fort Bragg and started his career in human resources with the federal government. While in Fayetteville, Ray and Helen were blessed to have two daughters, Donna and Debbie.

In 1962, Ray relocated the family to Houston, TX where he took a job with NASA. Ray and Helen often mentioned how much they enjoyed living in Texas, but the desire to be closer to family brought them back to Raleigh, in 1967 where he worked for the Civil Service Commission (now known as the Office of Personnel Management). Ray retired from the Environmental Protection Agency in 1985.

Following retirement, Ray devoted 30 years to volunteering by delivering Meals on Wheels and also served as a docent at the North Carolina State Capitol where he enjoyed providing tours and explaining North Carolina’s history. In 2012 he received the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award which is granted by the Office of the Governor of the State of North Carolina to individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state.

He also devoted time to Hayes Barton Baptist Church, where he had been a member since 1967. He was active in the Fellowship Sunday School Class where he served as treasurer for many years and played piano every Sunday. Ray was also active with the church TV Broadcast Ministry from inception where he worked the sound board. At both church and at the Capitol, he was known as the Candy Man for the seemingly endless supply of hard candies he carried in his pockets and always handed out with a smile.

Ray was preceded in death by his infant son David Ray and his parents Isaac Columbus Strickland and Alice Taylor Strickland, as well as three sisters and two brothers.

Survivors include daughters Donna Benton (Don) of Carolina Beach; Debra Bergold (Alan) of Raleigh, and grandson Justin Lisk (Ashlyn) of Raleigh, along with one sister and numerous nieces and nephews.

Following a private burial, a celebration of life is planned at Hayes Barton Baptist Church at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Hayes Barton Baptist Church TV Broadcast Ministry at https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=11198. Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.


  • Following a private burial, a celebration of life is planned at Hayes Barton Baptist Church at a future date.


Edwin Ray Strickland

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gloria Young

May 24, 2020

I first met Ray in 1970 when I began my Federal career with CSC/OPM in Raleigh, NC. He was my supervisor and great person to work with. He taught me about being professional, caring and treating people right. I learned a great deal from him. We both went our separate ways in the Federal government. I retired in 2006 from USDA/FSIS. I kept in touch with Ray on Facebook. I visited him and Helen a few years back and enjoyed that so much. He was always smiling and had such a caring heart. He always gave me encouraging and blessed words. He was truly a good man and had a deep love for our Heavenly Father and his family.
Rest in Peace Ray!

Debbie Rowlandwilliam@att.net

May 22, 2020

I only knew Ray from family members and talking on Facebook and even facetime. I should not use the word "only" because I treasure knowing this amazing man and never had the privilege of seeing him in person. I know he will be missed! Praying for the comfort that our Lord provides for all the family and loved ones.

Ronnie Jackson

May 20, 2020

Ray was my uncle. He was my mother's youngest brother. She passed away a few years ago but she and Uncle Ray shared a lot of family attributes. Both were very smart, very clever and dedicated to whatever the task was. Uncle Ray was one of the best people I have ever known. His dedication to Aunt Helen and the many years that he spent looking after her is a real inspiration to me. I read an article a few days ago about his dedication to meals on Wheels. His years of service to this program was truly outstanding. I think you can sum everything up by saying that Ray Strickland was a good man. He was the same every time that you saw him. He has a trail of friends from every aspect of his life. Home, church, work, community. I will miss him greatly although I did not see him often.

Frank Mathews

May 19, 2020

I first met Ray when both of us were employed at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston TX in the early 60s. Ray, Helen, and their children Donna and Debbie (and pup Josie (?)) returned to NC, and my family and I relocated to Raleigh in 1967. Although Ray worked at the US Civil Service Commission, we continued a work relationship in my employment with the National Center for Air Pollution Control. Ray was an inspiration to me, with a remarkable work ethic and a strong moral compass. A wonderful Christian man, dedicated and loving husband, father and friend. Rest well, my dear friend.


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