Carolyn Jeanette Stuckey Ray, age 86, moved to her heavenly home on February 4, 2023. She leaves to celebrate her memory her daughters Karen Boehm (David) and Suzanne Johnson (Dave), her grandchildren Stephanie Boehm Reynoso (Javier), Christopher Johnson (Hannah), and Stephen Johnson, and her brother David Stuckey (Judy), as well as many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and -nephews, and friends and neighbors. She was predeceased by her parents Gaston and Irene Stuckey, sisters Lois Chaisson and Edith Harrell, and brother Roger Stuckey.
Carolyn was raised in the Baptist faith. She was born on December 15, 1936 in the tiny community of Bunker Hill, Mississippi, the eldest of five children in a poor farming family. From the age of five she led a life of hard work, harvesting cotton from the fields, canning fruits and vegetables, chopping wood, hauling buckets of water from the well, milking the cows and feeding the chickens before walking several miles to school. At age 18, after graduating as Valedictorian in her high school senior class of eighteen students, she moved to New Orleans and found work first as a waitress and then as a stenographer. While living in New Orleans, she once attended a live Elvis Presley performance. It was also there that she met the man she would marry and raise two daughters with, Leroy Ray Jr. He became a twenty-year military career veteran, and together they moved all across the United States and to England twice, fueling her love for travel. She visited Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Spain, topping off her world travels with a Caribbean cruise with her best friend, Martha Baltzer, and she went on many day and weekend trips with family and friends. Leroy and Carolyn retired from the military and settled in Austin, Texas in 1973. After working several years with the Crockett High School cafeteria, Carolyn went to work as a bookkeeper for the company that would later become Sysco Foods, from which she retired after twenty years of service. With the help of her friends at Sysco, Carolyn became a financially savvy landlord, investor, and businesswoman.
Carolyn was a strong, proud, and fiercely independent woman, while at the same time humble and gentle. She had to learn to drive at age 29, when her husband was stationed overseas in a war zone for a year and was left alone with two young children to care for. During her lifetime she had to be thrifty, and was certainly an expert at stretching a dollar by feeding and caring for her family on a tight budget. When her girls were little, she sewed all their dresses, using the scraps to make matching dresses for their dolls. She was their Brownie and Girl Scout assistant troop leader, and she supported all of their school activities. The girls could always count on a fun birthday party and a wonderful Christmas each year. Carolyn was an avid reader, she enjoyed doing word search and jigsaw puzzles, and loved to crochet, giving away many doilies and religious cross bookmarks that she had made. Later in life she allowed herself the luxury of buying a piano and taught herself to play, of which she was extremely proud. Carolyn always stood up for what she believed in, secure in her Christian values, and she set an excellent role model for her children and grandchildren that will lead them all their lives. We love you very much, Mom and Grandma.
Carolyn was a long-time member of Woodlawn Baptist Church, worshipping her Lord and Savior. Services will be held at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Austin, TX at 10:00am on Friday, February 10, 2023, with interment to follow at Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Funeral Home & Cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas.