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Willie 'SugaRay' Ray BallardSeptember 23, 1948 ~ March 23, 2017 (age 68)
Willie Ray ‘SugaRay’ Ballard was born on September 23, 1948, in Gibson, Tennessee to Clarence and Lorine Ballard, Sr. At an early age, Ray received the Lord while a member of Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Humboldt, TN. He also attended Greater Victory Christian Ministries in Lorain, OH. Educated in the Tennessee public school system, upon graduating high School, he moved to Lorain, OH seeking employment and after 30 years of service, he retired from the Ford Motor Company. Ray was full of life and had many talents. He was a professional singer and entertainer with his own sound and technique that encompassed his amazing gift. For many years, he sang with the well-known, Lorain based family group, the Ballard Brothers which has recorded 3 albums. The sound of the Ballard Brothers was owed to Ray’s work ethic and study of the group’s music. Ray also has one R & B CD to be released. He enjoyed performing, singing at countless services and events over the years and sharing his gift with the world was his life’s passion. He was also a sport enthusiast and professional pool player winning many tournaments and competitions throughout Ohio and beyond. With no doubt, Ray had a heart of gold and will be truly missed by all that knew him. He knew no strangers and made friends and friendships that lasted throughout his lifetime. Most of all, he loved his wife of many years, the late Mary Ann Spikes-Ballard and their children collectively, his many family members and of course, his dog Zulu. He departed this life, after a lengthy illness, on March 23, 2017. Mr. Ray Ballard leaves to cherish his memory and legacy his daughters; Anita (Joseph) Gilbert of Milan, TN, Colette Ballard-Jones, LePreece (Rodney) Thomas and LaShawn (Rick) Ortiz and his son, Donte R. Ballard all of Lorain, Ohio. Stepchildren: Ashaki Jenkins, James Spikes and Glen Jenkins, Jr., grandchildren and great-grandchildren, His siblings: Dorothy Smith of Lorain, Clarence (Barbara) Ballard of Lorain, Sadie (James, Sr.) Smith of Humboldt, TN, Francis (Tom) Glinsey of Lorain, his twin, Wanda Faye (Johnny) Ross of Murfreesboro, TN, Charles (Jackie) Ballard of Lorain, Mary Matthews of Lorain and Darlene (James) Jones of Elyria and a loving host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and a special friend, Jackie Fairley. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Lorine Ballard, Sr., his wife Mary Ann (nee Spikes) Ballard, a sister Shirley Johnson, a brother Frank Ballard and brother-in-law, Sammy Smith. Friends may call on Friday, March 31, 2017 from 6:00p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday, April 1, 2017 for The Celebration of Life Service at 10:00 a.m. in the Faith Ministries Christian Center, 1306 Euclid Ave., Lorain, OH 44052, Pastor is Diana Lindsey. Apostle Sammy C. Smith, founder of Grace Cathedral Ministries, Inc., Greenville, SC, will officiate. Rev. Dr. Gregory Ballard, pastor of Victory Christian Church, Fort Bend County, Texas, eulogist. Burial in Elmwood Cemetery. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Carter Funeral Homes, Inc., 3001 Elyria Ave., Lorain, OH 44055. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.