Virlen “Ray” Wright

August 12, 1939 ‒ May 02, 2017

Centerburg, Ohio

Ray Wright, age 77 of Centerburg, died unexpectedly Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at St. Ann’s Hospital with his loved ones by his side.

He was born on August 12, 1939 in Anderson County, Tennessee to the late Audie and Lucille (Peters) Wright. A graduate of Centerburg High School in 1957, he went on to serve in the US Navy. While his ship was at the Saint John New Brunswick Port in Canada, he met his bride to be, Dorothy Kernighan. Married, they shared 53 wonderful years together, raising a family, and sharing life’s journey.

Following retirement as a quality assurance inspector with Western Electric/ATT/Bell Communication Research, Ray operated Wright-Way Locksmith and Wright-Way Water Systems. He also was a driver for Ross Jeep Eagle and repaired voting machines for the Knox County Board of Elections.

He was a member of the Sunbury Eagles and V.F.W., Centerburg AMVETS, and the Mt. Vernon Moose and Elks Lodges. He was also an active volunteer and supporter of the Centerburg High School Athletic and Music Boosters, as well as the Centerburg Baseball Little League.

Self-trained in virtually every trade, he enjoyed golf, gardening, and was a stubborn fan of the Cleveland sports teams. Never with idle hands, if there was a need Ray was the first to lend a hand.

Possessing a friendly and gregarious nature, he was the consummate supporter. Fun loving, he was always persistent and at times stubborn. He was the proudest being a supportive husband, father, and grandfather, for which he will forever be remembered.

Ray is survived by his wife of 53 years Dorothy; children: Debbie Henthorn (Harry Westergaard) of Centerburg, Randy (Nicki) Wright of Galena, Ryan (Tracy) Wright of Centerburg; 7 grandchildren: Allison (Scott) Miller, Trey Henthorn, Ryan, Isaiah, and Logan Wright, Alaina and Gavin Wright; great-grandchildren: Madison, Tyler, and Lily Miller, and Elliott Hamannthorn; brother Eddie (Jo) Wright; sister Brenda Eagon; mother-in-law Fern Kernighan, several nieces, nephews, and numerous cousins.

He was also preceded in death by infant granddaughter Anna Kristine Wright.

His family will greet friends from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, May 5th during his Celebration of Life at the DeVore- Snyder Funeral Home, 637 N. St. Rt. 61, Sunbury, Ohio 43074. Ray always wore red on Fridays in honor of veterans, “until they all come home” and you are encouraged to wear the same.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Hilliar Twp. Trustees Memorial Park, P.O. Box 649, Centerburg, Ohio 43011 or Pancreatic Cancer Research, NPCF, P.O. Box 1848, Longmont, CO 80502.

Condolences may be expressed at

  • So sorry to hear of Rays passing he will be greatly missed at the reuions that his for sure PRAYERS for his family RIP CUZ

  • There’s a sea that lies uncharted far beyond the setting sun,
    And a gallant fleet was sailing there whose fighting days are done,
    Sloop and galleon, brig and pinnace, all the rigs you never met,
    Fighting frigate, grave three-decker with their snowy canvas set;
    Dozed and dreamed, when, on a sudden, ev’ry sail began to swell,
    For the Breeze has spoken strangers, with a stirring tale to tell,
    And a thousand eager voices flung the challenge out to sea:
    “Come they hither in the old way, in the only way that’s free?”

    And the flying Breeze called softly: “In the old way,
    Through the winters and the waters of the North,
    They have waited, ah the waiting! in the old way,
    Strong and patient, from the Pentlands to the Forth.
    There was fog to blind and baffle off the headlands,
    There were gales to beat the worst that ever blew,
    But they took it, as they found it, in the old way,
    And I know it often helped to think of you.”

    Rest easy my dear friend… we have the watch.

  • We were saddened by the news, but know that Ray
    will be long remembered for all the supporting/volunteering he did for our schools and for our community as well. Ray along with his wife spent many hours helping the band and athletic teams as well as both Boosters Clubs.

  • With heavy heart we send our deepest and most sincere condolences to the entire family. So very sorry for your loss. Rayford was a special person and he’ll be forever missed. We wish we could be with you to celebrate his life. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • I did not have the pleasure to know this man but if he’s anything like his son, he surely was one heck of a guy! Sending prayers to you all.

    Katie Middleton
    Teacher for Randy at OHS

  • Deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife and children I had the pleasure of knowing Ray what a wonderful-kind hearted man he was as a former long time resident of Centerburg, I know that community has lost a treasure. He will be greatly missed

  • You were an inspiration to me all my life.
    Rest your oar sailor, we have the watch.

  • Oh how I will miss hearing that voice & laughter at the reunions every year & discussing all the history of our families & all the hidden secrets!! My thoughts & prayers are with all of you. Forever in my heart!

  • As good as I am at talking, words fail me now. This was such a shock. My condolences to the family. I’m sure God has a special place in heaven for people like Ray.

  • Couldn’t have asked for a better father-in-law for my daughter. She knew if there was something she needed done by a handy man, Ray was the guy for the job. Sat with Dot and him at many sporting events watching our grandsons. You could just see how proud he was of them. Their sporting days continue – and he will still be watching them and cheering them on.
    We have been blessed by knowing Ray Wright.

  • We had only just met Ray when we joined the Mt Vernon Moose lodge this past July, but he quickly became a good friend to us, and we always enjoyed visiting with him and hearing him laugh. He will be truly missed. Our deepest condolences to his family

  • I didn’t know Ray but I do know Randy, what a fine man he is. My prayers and condolences go out to the family.

  • Wow, what an active and full life Ray lived! I had no idea he served in so many ways. I knew him as my oldest male first cousin, always ready with a big bear hug, an out-going, fun-loving nature, and a genuine love for his extended family. His presence, family stories, laughter, and exhortations to learn our family history will be greatly missed at our family reunions! Rest in peace, Ray. You were so loved! May God bless you all with strength and comfort, Dorothy, Debbie, Randy, and Ryan and your families in the coming days.

  • With saddened heart, I send sympathy and condolences, to the Wright family’s. Ray always greeted me with a smile and a firm friendly handshake, followed by appreciated conversation. He will be greatly missed, but I’m sure he will have no problem making friends and greeting past ones again in Heaven, God Bless and RIP my friend.

  • Here was a man who loved life, loved people and loved all things Centerburg. I spoke with him last month about our Welcome Home for all Vietnam Era veterans. He was so enthused that his fellow veterans were going to be honored at the Alumni Banquet. I will carry his enthusiasm and respect forward in his absence and honor his memory by saluting those he held in such high regard. He was a treasure.

  • Randy and family,
    So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I’m sure you all have many great memories of him. I read the obituary; what a great man. My family and I will keep your family in our prayers.
    Mia Williams (OHS)

  • I worked with “Uncle Ray” (no real relation) for many years. He was a great friend and a true patriot. He will be sorely missed by all.

  • Peace be with the Wright family and all of the many followers, of this amazing man.
    It was an honor to know you and call you friend.

  • Our Class of 57 Centerburg sure has all the Wright family in our Prayers and thoughts, been there done that, so know your feelings of shock, sadness……Ray was a special part of our Class, just like each and every one. Keep the Faith……..with love, Nancy Miller (Spearman)

  • To Ray’s family and friends my deepest condolences are with you. I am inspired to have known and loved a man who was so full of life and goodness. He will stay in my heart forever.

  • My condolences to you all. Ray was a classmate of my dad (Robert White). I enjoyed my conversations with Ray ans also enjoyed some of their high school stories we weren’t suppose to emulate…lol. Ray was a very good man with a good soul and he will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Centerburg and his family indeed lost a great man.
    Prayers up for you all.

  • We are truly saddened by the loss of Ray. Ray was always a joy to be around, ready with a smile and lots of stories. He always put a smile on our faces. He will be missed dearly. You all will be in our prayers. May our Lord and Savior pour out Mercy and Comfort to you all.

  • We did not have the pleasure of knowing Ray, but we know and love his son, Randy (and his family), so we know he must have been a very special man. Our deepest condolences to his wife, children, and everyone who knew and loved him. May you all feel the comfort and peace that only our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, can provide.

  • Ray , thank you for being my Band Dad. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for stopping by the house to chat. Thank you for being Neal’s Uncle Ray. Just thank you. To Deb and family please know how much Ray meant to my son snd I. I offer you my unconditional love and empathy.

  • Dad, well I’m not very happy that it was time for you to go. I am going to miss you so very much. I ache to talk to you again. You are in a way better place than we are, that I am certain. Thank you so much for being the dad that you were. I think that I have learned how to be a great parent to Alaina and Gavin and I owe that to you and mom. You have taught me to express concern for others, to ask my friends how their parents are doing and to even speak to complete strangers and become a friend even for just that moment. Thanks for showing me to pay it forward in helping with little league, athletic boosters and even the time I spent serving the alumni association. You taught me to work on and repair my own vehicles; even if it took multiple trips to the parts store. I don’t think I’ll ever understand household electricity so I’ll have to find someone for that. And our drywall skills were less than desirable! Please watch over us in all that we do and when we are traveling to the various events that the kids are doing, I know you’ll be there. I am not the best at this and I said it too few times but, I love You!

  • So very sorry. God bless all of you. Memories are ever lasting. What a great, great man of character he was and always will be.

  • My deepest sympathy to the Wright family on the loss of their husband, father, grandfather, great- grandfather and brother.
    I have many cherished memories of Ray from his high school days , when a skinny little kid like me, watched him on the basketball floor, to his later years when he always took time to speak to me . Thank you Ray!
    You will be missed deeply by all who knew you.

    Tom Foster

  • So very saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wright family. It was a privilege to know Ray. Every time I ran into him , I always got a smile and a big hug! He will be missed by many!

  • Randy, My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Loosing a parent/ grandparent at any age is very difficult and only time will heal those wounds. He must of been a great role model to raise a great Christian man like you. I wanted to pay my respects in person but I’m still dealing with treatment. I want you to know how much I always appreciated your kindness towards me and Marilyn. May God comfort you in this difficult time and may you find peace in knowing you will be together again for all eternity.

  • Virlen”Ray” Wright United States Navy.
    Centerburg H.S. Class of 1957.
    VFW,AmVets,Eagles,Elks,and Moose.
    Volunteer/Supporter-Centerburg Athletics and Music Boosters.
    And Centerburg Little League Baseball.

    God Bless and Thank YOU,Ray for your service.”Fair winds and following seas”…….. RIP… And Semper Fi.
    “Wear Red on Fridays in Honor of our VETERANS”.

    “Sailor rest your oar”… Semper Fortis

  • Dear Wright Family, you have our deepest sympathy. Ray was one of the good guys!
    He always went out of his way to ask how we were doing. You could always count on a hug and smile. He will be missed by many. I wish we could have joined in the gathering of friends and family. Hugs and prayers!

  • So Sorry to hear about Ray. We enjoyed him so much in Florida when he came to visit Bill and Brenda. He always called Janet Pauline and we got such a kick out of that. I never realized all of the talents that Ray had. I wish I had gotten to know him better. Our hearts go out to the Wright family.

    Janet & Larry Miller

  • You will be sorely missed. One of the finest men I have ever known. The Wright family is in our prayers.

  • So sorry to hear of Ray’s passing. Our deepest sympathy to your family and we will keep you in our thoughts.

  • Praying for Ray’s family and friends. May all your great memories comfort you in this difficult time. Ray will be greatly missed by all who know him. We are still in Fl and our hearts and prayers are with you.

  • So sorry to hear about your dad, Mr. Wright. Thinking of you. We are Glenn Buck’s parents

  • I knew Ray for a short period of 5years but he felt like family to me. He will be dearly missed by all. He was my grandbaby’s great grandfather and a very loving man. I will miss you at birthday parties and any other family gathering. God Bless you my friend. Peace be with you. You are now in God’s hands. RIP dear Ray. I will miss you, but will always remember you. God Speed!!