Raymond Hays “Ray” Parton Jr., 86, passed away at 5:17 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla., in the presence of his loving wife, son and daughter.
He was born June 11, 1930, in Alton, the son to Raymond Chester Parton and Ruby Gladys Greer Parton.
In 1949, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and remained an active reservist through 1958.
In 1958, Ray joined the Alton Police Department. He was committed to helping young people and was graduated from the Juvenile Officer’s Institute at the University of Minnesota as well as the Institute on Juvenile Law Enforcement at the University of Illinois. His position papers outlining the functions of a police juvenile bureau were touted as “one of the best submitted,” according to a spokesman from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare Children’s bureau. As a Detective Sergeant, he received many commendations for his investigative work. He was one of the officers selected to assist the Secret Service in guarding the motorcade when then Senator John F. Kennedy visited Alton and was a charter member of the St. Louis Major Case Squad.
A second career brought him to Florida in 1977. He established himself as a transportation safety and hazardous materials specialist for the trucking industry. Ray was past president of the Northeast Florida Safety Council. He earned many awards for his work, including Safety Professional of the Year by the Ohio Trucking Association. His expertise was sought through his testimony before a committee in Washington, D.C., headed by then Secretary of Transportation, Elizabeth Dole.
Above all else, Ray’s first calling was as husband, father and grandfather. He was a church deacon, choir member, Sunday school teacher and with his wife, Dorothy, was youth leader at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Alton. To his son, Stephen, he was one of the scoutmasters of Troop 7 at Elm Street Presbyterian Church. He was “Sleeping Bear” to his son Michael’s “Grey Wolf” in Indian Guides. He was an every-night audience member at all of his daughter Susan’s musical performances. He also sang bass in the choirs she directed at various churches and at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.
An athlete himself, Ray coached baseball, basketball, or whatever sport his sons or grandson chose to play. For his son Stephen, he began coaching baseball in 1965 and by 1967 his managerial skills with the “Yankees” in the 9-10 league earned him the title of Junior Baseball manager of the year from the Alton Park & Recreation Department. His coaching resumed in 1997 for his grandson Ray’s basketball team at the YMCA in Jacksonville, Fla. Following a move to Illinois, he continued as his grandson’s basketball and baseball coach for Evangelical Elementary School through 2008.
Ray is survived by the love of his life, Dorothy Kaus, whom he married on Sept. 26, 1953. He is also survived by his daughter Susan Parton Stanard of Godfrey; son, Michael Parton of Jacksonville, Fla.; grandson, Raymond Stanard of Godfrey; brother, Ronald T. (Ellie) Parton of Soquel, Calif.; sister, Eloise Parton Johann (Donald) of Alton; nieces and nephews, David Korum, Diane Korum Drilling (Ken), Donna Johann Clark (Jerry), Debbie Johann Patridge (Barry), and Diane Johann Goeken (John) and their families; and was blessed with a large extended family; a sister-in-law, cousins, aunts, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
In addition to his parents, Ray was preceded in death by his son, Stephen.
Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla., at Faithbridge Church and at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, 2016, at Evangelical United Church of Christ in Godfrey.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Faithbridge Church or Evangelical United Church of Christ.