Jose Antonio “Tony” Ray was born on September 26, 1964 in Ensenada, Mexico, grew to live a faith-filled life, and departed to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ, on February 26, 2019 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at the age of 54. Tony is survived by his wife, Sheri, with whom he would have celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on April 25th. He was very proud of his two sons Andrew, 28, and Benjamin, 25, along with a grandson, Parker Ray. Tony is also survived by his sisters, Glenda Schaeffer (Charlie) and Rose Ann Ray (Jeff Armstrong), his mother, Margarita Chiplinsky (Ivan), and a beloved Uncle, Don Ray, (Lorna) as well as cousins with whom he shared close relationship. Several nieces and nephews were also enriched by Tony’s life and love. He is preceded in death by his father, Richard Ray.
Tony spent his childhood years enjoying the beaches of California, and later lived in the state’s high desert mountains. As a teenager his family moved to Missouri’s Bootheel. Tony then settled in Springﬁeld, MO, where he and Sheri raised their family. He embarked on a career in international logistics, obtaining industry certifications along the way, eventually becoming licensed with the Department of Homeland Security as a US Customs Broker. Throughout his career as a freight forwarder, his favorite clients remained the missionaries he delighted to serve, moving them throughout the world and providing for their shipping needs. In his forties, as an encouragement to his wife who was working toward an academic degree, he re-entered the academic world so they could “finish together.” Tony graduated from Evangel University in May 2013 with his Bachelors of Science degree. After fulfilling this lifelong goal, the couple relocated to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to further pursue career goals.
As a child and young man, Tony enjoyed swimming and studying martial arts, an ability he used to mentor teenagers toward greater faith in Christ. He remained physically active all his life, and entered the cycling world after being diagnosed with diabetes. He developed his skill level to participate in charity rides to benefit that cause. Tony delighted in spending time with his two boys and with Sheri, the love of his life. In his last two years, Tony’s ministry to others intensified as he encountered cancer. He focused his intentionality and energy on walking gracefully and powerfully toward the goal of simply abiding in Christ each day, rather than living in an attitude of striving. He determined that his life would not be defined by cancer, but by his unwavering faith in Jesus. Those who accompanied Tony throughout his faith journey were witnesses to a profound power in his life, resulting from Tony’s commitment to dwell in Christ and rest in His daily presence. To all who knew him, Tony’s devotion to Jesus, his optimism, determination, gentle spirit and radiant smile will be forever remembered.
Tony’s life will be celebrated and his memory honored by family and friends on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 at 12:00 PM at Central Assembly of God Church—1301 N. Booneville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802. Visitors will be welcomed from 10 AM-12 PM, and a graveside service at Greenlawn North Cemetery will immediately follow the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be sent in Tony’s honor to those he considered his heroes – Assemblies of God World Missions, and Assemblies of God Chaplaincy, 1445 N. Booneville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802.