Christian 03


December 14, 1944 ~ July 26, 2022 (age 77)





     Ray Emory Thompson.  “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” Psalm 116:15 (NASV). These words so fully describe the passing of Ray Emory Thompson from pain on earth into the eternal presence of his heavenly father on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.  He was born on December 14, 1944 in Pontiac, Michigan to parents, Howard Willis Thompson and Rachel Arlene Thompson.  Ray would later become a 1963 graduate of Rabun County High School where he was an all-state defensive end as well as an all-state forward in basketball.   He went on to attend Southern Polytechnic Institute on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering.  After graduation, Ray served in the United States Navy Reserve for eight years and married Cheryl Herndon on February 17, 1968.  Ray and Cheryl eventually settled with their family in Sylvania, GA, where he was plant manager at White Stag – Warnaco.  He later retired and they moved to Mount Airy, GA, where they are members of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Clarkesville, GA. 

     Ray loved  INTENTIONALLY and he loved UNCONDITIONALLY.  He enjoyed spending time coaching his children, along with the youth of Sylvania, and his grandchildren.  He traveled to no end to support his grandchildren in whatever activity they were involved in.  Many lives were touched and influenced with his love for kids and sports.  He also served and spent countless hours with Redeemed Ministries where he helped spread love and the gospel to children all over the world. 

     For all that knew Ray, many characteristics come to mind.  A man that lived by his faith, one that set a great example for his family and anyone else that came in contact with him.  A calm and gentle giant that remained even keeled no matter what life threw his way, through the most positive high points or the most devastating low points. However, one of his strongest characteristics may have been his courage. He took cancer head on and never backed down.  From same day chemo treatments straight to the ballfield or game, a granddaughters wedding, or family event, his determination never faltered.   Creating a legacy all of his family and friends will remember and cherish.

     Ray is preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Arlene, and his daughter Janet.  He is survived by: his loving wife, Cheryl Herndon Thompson; one daughter, Julie Thompson Harmon & husband Darren of Madison, MS; one son, Brad & wife Julie Davidson Thompson of Flowery Branch, GA; three brothers, Jimmy Thompson & wife Daisy of Clayton; Ronald Thompson & wife Bonnie of Clayton; Sanford Thompson & wife Susan of Clayton; two sisters, Shirley Nichols & late husband Grady of Clayton; Mary Williams & husband Bob of Clayton. Ray is also survived by 5 grandchildren:  Alexia Harmon Sykes & husband Hunter Sykes, Garrett Harmon, Alayna Harmon, Kinsleigh Thompson & Kaden “KT” Thompson, all of whom Ray beamed with pride.

     The family will receive family and friends at Beck Funeral Home in Clayton, GA, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 30th, with the service celebrating Ray’s life following at 12:00 p.m.  Thompson-Strickland-Waters Funeral Home will be assisting with a graveside service being held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 31st at Screven County Memorial Cemetery in Sylvania, Georgia.  

     In lieu of flowers, donations made to Samaritan’s Purse or Bethlehem Baptist Church Redeemed Ministries in Clarkesville, GA. 

     Beck Funeral Home, in Clayton, Georgia, is in charge of the arrangements. If there are any questions, please call 706-782-9599.  An online Memorial Register Book is available at

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