Raymond Martin Boaz, Sr., 93, died on Wednesday, August 16, 2016, at Alexian Village.
He was born on April 19, 1923 in Fayetteville, TN to William Jean and Clara Taylor Boaz. Ray was the younger brother of Taylor and Martha. Ray moved to Chattanooga in 1938 after the death of his mother and lived with his aunt and uncle in Brainerd. He graduated from Morgan Preparatory School in Howell, TN in 1941 and returned to Chattanooga.
Ray met the love of his life, Bernice Smith, on a blind date on December 10, 1941. Their love affair was interrupted by Ray’s service in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Ray served as a B24 Flight Engineer and completed 30 missions flying the European theater out of Eye Air Field in England.
When Ray returned from England, he and Bernice were married in the chapel at Fort Oglethorpe on February 9, 1945. They were then stationed in Miami Beach, FL and Bryan, TX before being discharged from the Army Air Corps.
Upon discharge, Ray and Bernice returned to Chattanooga. Ray started his lifelong career with Corley Manufacturing Company on June 4, 1941 as the switchboard operator. His tenure with the Company was interrupted by his War service, but upon his return he went to work in Shipping and was ultimately promoted into Sales. Ray rose through the ranks and retired from Corley as Chairman of the Board after more than 50 years of distinguished service. During his career, Ray was a member of the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club and was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the Chattanooga Manufacturer’s Association and was on the Board of Directors for the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association.
Outside of work you would find Ray on the golf course, at a Tennessee Football game or honing his woodworking skills. He made treasured doll houses, rocking horses, doll beds, and more for his grandchildren. Ray, Bernice and their dear friends, Jim and Wanda, all avid Tennessee Football fans, threw legendary tailgate parties. Ray’s special contribution was a walnut bar cabinet and table he built that was used at every game for over 30 years.
Ray and Bernice moved to Signal Mountain in 1959. Their first Christmas on the Mountain, Ray constructed a giant Christmas wreath, sprigged it with fresh holly collected along Edwards Point Road and hung it around the front entrance to their home in Birnam Woods. That wreath continues to be a part of the Boaz Christmas.
Ray and Bernice were long standing members of Signal Mountain Country Club. During his days of playing in the Dogfights, Ray shot his age or better at least 50 times. He also was lucky enough to have scored 4 Holes In One with his last occurring on #17 when he was 85 years old. He continued to play until he was 91. On any afternoon you could find him in the Club’s Card Room playing Gin Rummy with his friends.
Ray is survived by his four children and their spouses: Brenda Boaz Kelly and her husband, Tyler; Raymond Martin Boaz, Jr. and his wife, Diane; Charles William Boaz and his wife, Kelly; and Constance Boaz Woods and her husband, Joe.
One of Ray’s greatest joys in life was being Big Daddy to his six grandchildren: Sharon Boaz Deaver; Elizabeth Boaz Burnette and her husband, Chad; Katherine Boaz Santola and her husband, Jason; Robert Charles Boaz and his wife, Brittany; Raymond Martin Boaz, III; and Daniel Link Boaz. And also, Big Daddy to his six great-grandchildren: Finley Constance Burnette; Sophia Kate Santola; Weston Forbes Burnette; Guiliana Constance Boaz; Andrew Donald Santola; and Wilder Gash Burnette. His extended family also includes: Christopher Kelly, his wife Patti and their daughter, Jane; Blair Kelly, his wife Alicia, and their children Grace and Blair Tyler; Alexander Lee and Ashley Lee.
The family wishes to thank the incredible nurses and staff of Alexian Health Care, Alexian Brothers Home Care and Hospice of Chattanooga.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorial contributions in Ray’s name to Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37416, www.hospiceofchattanooga.org.
The family will host a celebration of Ray’s life at Signal Mountain Golf & Country Club, Signal Mountain, Tn., on Friday, Aug. 19, at 5:30 p.m. We encourage everyone to dress as though they are joining Ray for his final 18 holes, as well as the 19th hole.
Prior to the celebration of life service, the family will have gathered for a private graveside service in Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 4000 Tennessee Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37409, 423 821-7551.
Share your memories, stories and photos at www.wannfuneralhome.com.