Raymond "Ray" Erwin passed away Nov. 10, 2020, at the age of 74 due to complications from surgery. Even in his final days, he fought to prove wrong those who thought they knew what he was capable of doing.
The youngest of four siblings, Ray was born on June 27, 1946, to Minnie Ollie (Branham) and Warney Garfield Erwin at their home in Globe, KY. He learned about loss at a young age as his mother died when he was 11, and his father when he was 17.
He joined the Army and served in the Vietnam War before being honorably discharged in 1967 at the age of 21. His work for an automobile manufacturer took him to Michigan, where he met the woman who would become the love of his life. He was working as a mechanic in a service center when a beautiful young woman named Dawn Nechman was hired to do the books. Ray was on vacation when she started, but it didn't take long after his return for them to begin dating. Neither of them ever dated anyone else after that.
Ray went on to run his own service station, moving his small (but growing) family to Northeast Ohio and cursing them to a lifetime of Browns fandom. After 10 years, the family of four moved to his home state of Kentucky for good.
To say Ray was a University of Kentucky basketball fan would be an understatement. He left this world just in time to hear Cawood Ledford's heavenly calls of the upcoming season. It wasn't just UK, though. Ray loved sports, including the University of Michigan, and helped coach his son Dave's baseball teams when he was young. Ray was a fixture at Nicholasville's City County Park, watching the pickup games and forming friendships everywhere he went.
Ray never met a stranger. If you were in line with him somewhere, he'd be talking to you within minutes and have you laughing almost immediately. He loved to tell jokes, and friends and family heard his favorites regularly. But he so enjoyed telling them that it didn't matter how many times you'd heard it before. He saw the good in almost everyone, and believed he could find common ground with just about anyone.
The family couldn't go anywhere without running into someone who knew Ray. From festivals 45 minutes from home to a vacation in Myrtle Beach, they'd hear a "Ray?" from a friend anyplace they went.
The world is darker for not having him in it. He was preceded in death by both his parents, Minnie and Warney, an older brother, James Bonnie Lawson, and a full menagerie of three dogs and innumerable cats. He is survived by his wife, Dawn, children Jill and David (who betrayed the rest of the family by becoming an Ohio State fan), sister Gail Claudine Lawson Blevins, brother Warney Edwin "Eddie" Erwin, nine nephews, four nieces, numerous friends, and those he didn't have a chance to meet.
Ray will be cremated, and there will be a small graveside ceremony for family only at Camp Nelson National Cemetery on Thursday, Nov. 19. The family would appreciate donations to the general purpose fund at the Lexington VA Hospital, where Ray was a longtime patient and got exceptional care in his final days.
This obituary was lovingly submitted by his family. Hager & Cundiff Funeral Home values nothing more than the truest given to us to care for Ray.
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