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Celebrating the life of....Minnie Ruth Sturdivant Ray

Family Gathering: 839 Trinity Street

Thomasville, NC 27360

Public Visitation: Friday, November 26, 2021 1:00 pm -6:00 pm

S.E. Thomas Funeral & Cremation Services

110 Highland Avenue, Thomasville, NC 27360

Family Visitation: Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Please follow all CDC Guidelines

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 204 Turner Street, Thomasville, NC 2730

Funeral Service: Saturday, November 27, 2021 2:00 pm

Emmanuel Baptist Church 204 Turner Street, Thomasville, NC 27360


Minnie Ruth Ray was born on January 25, 1941 in Wadesboro, North Carolina to the late Minnie Kersey and Rufus Palmer Sturdivant. In the early morning of November 16, 2021 God called his faithful servant to glory.

As a child, Minnie moved with her parents to Thomasville, NC where she attended Church Street School. There she met and later married the late Harvey Ray, Sr. In 1962, Minnie and her family moved to Buffalo, New York. While in Buffalo, Minnie worked as a seamstress. Garnering the trust and confidence of her coworkers, she was elected president of the local seamstress union. During her tenure as president, she negotiated concessions for the union which ended a labor stoppage.

In the summer of 1972, Minnie moved back to Thomasville, NC where she began nearly 50 years of tireless service to her children, grandchildren, and her community. She was a mother, a provider, a nurturer, a counselor, an encourager, and a friend to many, many people in her community. She loved unconditionally. She not only raised her own children, she provided a loving home for others as well. She was an active participant in local politics. She worked every year to make sure that people got to the polls so their voices could be heard on a local, state, and national level. Minnie was very active in her community. On Thanksgivings Minnie made food baskets for the elderly and distributed them throughout the community. As a result of her community service she was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Action Committee of Thomasville. Without asking for recognition or anything else in return.

Minnie loved to cook. Not only did she love to cook, she was very good at it. Her kitchen was a welcoming place where many people gathered to celebrate holidays or eat Sunday dinner. Sometimes one of her children or grandchildren would bring someone home for a holiday and they would always be welcomed. Other times people would just happen to be there at dinner time. She never turned anyone away. Minnie was also an entrepreneur. She along with her son Gregory, founded Rock City, a night club, and the adjoining restaurant which they ran successfully for 7 years. She also operated a clothing business called Minnie’s Boutique on Wheels.

Minnie has always supported her church. She was a primary fundraiser for Cornerstone Church of Christ in support of her daughter Theresa. In 1993, Minnie gave her life to Christ and joined Union Missionary Baptist Church where she remained a member until going to her father in glory. She served there as president of the Pastor’s Aide and vice president of the kitchen committee for 20 years. She loved to watch Michael Jordan play and she loved the Duke Blue Devils

Minnie was preceded in death by her son Gregory Ray and sister Lillian Christian.

She leaves to cherish her memory her children, Stanford Ray (Deborah), Harvey Ray, Jr (Carmen Cotton), Colisa Ray, and Theresa Harriott (Ricky). She was also blessed to have raised two of her grandchildren Leah Harris and Christina Bynum as well as Josephine Turner and Cecelia Page Miller (Curtis); nephews Reginald, Eric, Terry Christian, and Thomas Jones; 28 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren; life-long special friends Helen Hargraves, Patsy Battle, Pat Rowland, Vera Carter, Helen Skeen, and Harlie James, Jr.; Special cousins Betty Sturdivant and Bertha Carelock; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, friends, and the entire Union Missionary Baptist Church family.

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