James M. Ray

BRIDGMAN — James M. Ray, 78, of Bridgman, MI, passed away on August 7, 2020, at the Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville, MI.  

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judith (Hathaway) of Lansing, IL; brother Joseph Ray of Wisconsin; daughter Dawn Karshner of Indiana, daughter Laura Ray of Lexington, KY, son James Antonelli Ray (Emily) of Groton, MA; son Brian Hathaway Ray (Natalie) of Pasadena CA; grandchildren Olivia, Jack, Maura and Miranda; various nieces and nephews and his beloved dog Bella.

James was born March 2, 1942, to Jola Brown Ray and Melbourne Ray of Kansas City, MO. After an early childhood in Kansas City, the family moved to Morton, IL, where Jim was active in the Boy Scouts of America and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Later, the family moved to Hobart Indiana where Jim graduated from Hobart High School and then attended Indiana University.

Jim often said he had been in the trucking business for 62 years because  he started out working for his father Mel Ray as a dock hand at an early age. He later became a legend in the trucking industry specializing in truckload steel and equipment hauling mainly in the greater Calumet area of Illinois and Indiana. He was active for many years in the Calumet Traffic Club and the South Suburban Traffic Club and owned trucking companies such as Carriers Inc, City Xpress, and Universal Trucking and operated many others. In later years he owned RayTrans Management, a logistics company based in Pittsburgh, PA.

In 1973, Jim took up flying and earned his single engine, multi engine and instrument ratings and owned several airplanes. He also took up the art of fly fishing and liked nothing more than wading in a cold stream and hooking on to a big trout and then letting it go. He and his wife Judith enjoyed traveling within the United States and abroad.

Jim’s effusive personality and sense of humor made him a great favorite among his family and friends. No one stayed a stranger for long after encountering his warm, gregarious and caring personality. His kindness was well-known to those who he mentored, gave a start or a second start, or engineered a career boost. He loved his family with all his heart.

Due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, a memorial service honoring Jim’s memory will be held in a time and place yet to be determined. Gifts in his honor can be sent to the Caring Circle of Lakeland  (Hospice at Home), 4025 Health Park Lane, St. Joseph MI 49085. 

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