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Raymond Headley Burch, Jr., 89, of Gainesville, GA passed away Thursday, June 28, 2018. Ray was born on February 25, 1929 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He was the only child of Catharine Wagner and Raymond H. Burch, Sr. The significance of family impacted Ray from his early childhood, and it was through his family and wide range of friends, that Ray would find great joy in life. The brightness that he would come to share with so many others radiated through his generous smile and love of life.
He attended University High School in Lexington, Kentucky, where he played varsity basketball, performed in Glee Club and was on yearbook staff. He graduated from University of Kentucky in 1951, and was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity.
On December 27, 1952, Ray married Madge Hunter Farra, who was the cousin of Ray’s next door neighbors, Ann and Barney Hunter. Although Ray had noticed Madge when she would visit the Hunters, it wasn’t until they double dated in college and Ray negotiated a ‘date trade’, that their story began. They fell in love, married and moved to Clark Air Force Base, Philippine Islands in January 1953 where Ray reported for duty as Second Lieutenant of the US Air Force.
After Ray finished his five-year tour with the US Air Force, he started work with Ralston Purina in St. Louis, Missouri in 1955, and then accepted a transfer to Gainesville, Georgia in 1957. Ray made a move to business development and sales with Twin Oaks Hatchery in 1959. In 1961 he joined CWT Farms and was responsible for developing the export and international sales for that company. CWT won the National “E” for Excellence in Export and the “E Star” award, for its international export of poultry hatching eggs. Over the years, the operation included approximately 120 production farms and CWT exported to over 40 countries in North and South America, The Caribbean, Europe, The Middle East, and Asia. The U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce presented these national awards. Ray was President of CWT for over three decades, and then became Chairman of the Board.
Ray served on the Georgia Poultry Leaders Round Table, starting in 1978 and was Georgia Poultry Federation President for 1966-67. He also served as state vice-president and director of South-Eastern Poultry and Egg Association for seven years.
Ray was selected to the Brenau University Board of Trustees in the late 1980’s, until he recently retired. He also served as the Chairman for the Hall County Development Authority from 1983-86. As Chattahoochee Country Club President in 1984, Ray was instrumental in the construction of the current CCC facilities. Ray was also active in Jaycees and the Kiwanis Club, the latter of which he was Director.
Although Ray freely shared his joy and enthusiasm with everyone he met, those closest to him knew it was his wife, four children, ten grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren who were the source of his greatest happiness. He was most proud of Madge, his loving wife of nearly 66 years and being the “#1 Dad” to Nancy (& Bob Muir), Susan (& John Eddy), Emily (& Chris Zimmerman), and Scott. The progeny of these four came every summer for the “Cousins Reunion” hosted by ‘Grandy and Pops’ for almost two decades. Drew (Sharyn) and Missy (Francisco Cruz) Muir; Allison, Michael, William and Madeline Eddy; Kate and Ted Zimmerman; Parker and Wagner Burch were the light of Grandy & Pops’ summer. The tradition will be continued, beginning with great grandchildren Amelia, Olivia and Isaac Cruz.
Ray was the amazing patriarch who always provided exceptional conversation, genuine interest, and the adventurous spirit which we so loved. We are deeply grateful for the legacy of love, joy and selflessness that Ray leaves behind. He will be greatly missed.
Memorial Service at Gainesville First United Methodist Church Sanctuary Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 3:00 PM. Reception following service at Chattahoochee Country Club at 4:30 PM.
The family extends its sincere appreciation to the Staff at Reflections of Lanier Village Estates for the passion they showed for skillful care and responsiveness. We are also grateful for the truly exceptional care by the Pruitt Health Hospice team.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to: Gainesville First United Methodist Church & The In-Patient Medical Rehab Unit at NGMC MedicalCenterFoundation.org/donate 770-219-8099.
Online condolences may be made at littledavenport.com
Little Davenport Funeral Home & Crematory 355 Dawsonville Hwy. Gainesville, GA is in charge of arrangements.