Raymond Lee Jones, 72, died in Brunswick, Georgia on June 21, 2021 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a loving father, grandfather, well-known leader in the fishing industry, and a really good soul that we will miss dearly.
Ray was born on July 10, 1948 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the second of four boys to Virginia and Bruce Jones. After his family moved to Greenville, South Carolina, Ray and his brothers began walking to a nearby golf course. Experiences that would spark his lifelong commitment to the sport.
Ray attended Wade Hampton High School (Grade ’66) and Furman University and starred in both schools? Golf teams and later he moved to Atlanta to start a wallpaper business with his brother David. They worked hard and played hard: repairing VW Beetles and going to every concert they could. Ray has always loved bluegrass and southern rock; some of his favorite artists were The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, John Prine, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson.
Ray returned to school at the age of 30 and received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology and his master’s degree in analytical chemistry from Georgia State University. While living in Atlanta, he met Kathryn and Patty’s mother, Laurie, and they were married in November 1987. In 1988, he took a position at Rich Products Corp. and worked for the SeaPak Shrimp and Seafood Division on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Would Ray have a huge impact on the company in the next three decades? and the fishing industry in general. He was a real seafood advocate and a trusted voice in meetings with members of the House of Representatives, Senate and regulators. Ray served as chairman of the technical committee of the National Fisheries Institute from 1994 to 1996 and technical chairman of the National Shrimp Industry Association from 1998 to 2005.
After working his way up at Rich Products, Ray retired as Vice President of Seafood Procurement, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs in 2017. That same year, the National Fisheries Institute passed a resolution making him? Leader in the Seafood Industry? in recognition of his decades of commitment to the sustainability and quality of seafood. Upon retirement, Ray began advising on PB2 with his close friend and CEO of the company, Craig Entwistle.
Despite Ray’s many professional successes, his proudest role was as a father and grandfather. Was he a very committed parent who took his daughters to fairs, go-kart tracks and amusement parks? and bring back a doll or a key fob from international business trips over and over again.
Ray taught his daughters everything from cleaning catfish to flying best practices (tip: show up really, very early). He was endlessly supportive and encouraging in every aspect of her life. He loved talking about politics with his daughter Kathryn, whom he often visited in Washington DC. When his daughter Patty bought her first home, he was there every step of the way with the renovations and often visited to talk about life, music and of course their favorite sports teams.
When his granddaughter Cora arrived, the two became best friends; Ray saw her almost every day and spoiled her with time, attention, and trips to the playground. He was overjoyed with the arrival of his second grandchild, a boy named Riley. When he wasn’t spending time with his daughters and grandchildren, he loved visiting and playing golf with his mother Ginny, who died last March at the age of 98.
While family was the most important thing in Ray’s life, golf came second. He was a scratch golfer who won many amateur tournaments and proudly collected golf balls from the myriad golf courses he had played around the world. In retirement, he spent much of his time on the links in his signature black golf cart. He also cooked a lot; his specialties were low country boils, cajun seafood, and gumbo full of shrimp. He also maintained his love of music, playing guitar, adding to his huge record collection, and watching shows with his daughters.
Ray will be remembered as loving and generous, accepting and non-judgmental. It didn’t fit any shape, and he didn’t care if you did. He just wanted to do the right thing. He was calm, cool, and collected; always stable, always reliable, even in troubled waters. And while he could solve any problem, he never wanted to be in the spotlight. He was humble and loyal (a fact that proves his lifelong devotion to the hawks).
Lots of people think their dad is the best, but Ray really takes the cake. He was the dad who got you fishing at 5 a.m. (and made it kind of fun). The father who whistled the loudest at every swimming meeting. The dad who obsessively checked the weather forecast – and called you with alternative routes – when you were on a road trip. The father who came by for weeks after you had a baby and went out of his way to help. In short, he was a father without comparison; a man who will live forever in our hearts.
Ray leaves behind his daughters Kathryn Jones (Clark Fonda) and Patty Mitchell (Tyler); his grandsons Cora and Riley Mitchell; his brothers Steve, Gary, and David Jones; and his ex-wife and dear friend Laurie Jones.
A memorial service will be held at St. William Catholic Church on St. Simons Island on July 10, 2021 at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at Village Creek Landing.
Instead of flowers, memorial donations can also be made to Ray’s most popular charity, Saved By Grace (savedbygraceglynn.com).
Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home takes care of the arrangements. At www.edomillerandsons.com you can add yourself to the register and offer your condolences to the family
Family placed obituary
The Braunschweiger Nachrichten, July 3, 2021
Published by The Brunswick News on July 3, 2021.