Ray Allen Steward of Springfield, WV died suddenly on Sunday, April 15, 2018 in the arms of his beloved wife, Donna.
He is the son of the late George Washington Steward (dec. 2005). He is also predeceased by his brother Michael J. Steward and an infant sister, Charlene Steward.
Ray is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Donna (Dorsey) Steward, his mother, Betty Catherine (Crock) Steward of Springfield; his son, Neal A. Steward (wife Virginia) of Romney; his daughter, Stacey L. (Steward) Nestor (husband Michael) of Short Gap; and (4) grandchildren: Breanna, Lesley and Benjamin Nestor and Castanea Steward. Ray is also survived by many other family members and a world of friends.
Ray was born in Cumberland, MD and raised in Springfield, WV where he found his first and only love at the age of 6 (she was 3) and that was Donna. He graduated from Hampshire High with the class of 1971 and immediately joined the U.S. Navy. He was shipped off to Sidiyahi Kenitra, Morocco, Africa where he quickly became a top-flight radio operator. In 1972 he took a quick tour home to marry Donna and brought her right back to Africa with him where they started their family with the arrival of Neal. After 3 1/2 years, they moved back to the U.S. to San Diego, CA where Stacey arrived on the scene. This was a 3-month tour, then on to Sugar Grove, WV for 2 years, then to Norfolk, VA where Ray was assigned to the U.S.S. Concord for 6 years. After 10 years of active duty, Ray joined the Reserves and moved his family back to West Virginia in 1981.
Back home, Ray found employment with Western Union then moved to Abex/Federal Mogul in Winchester from which he retired in 2009. Not one to ever be idle, Ray and Donna were instrumental in the creation of the Springfield Rescue Squad in 1981 where he ultimately became Chief and was awarded the “Excellence in Service” award in 2017. Their commitment to the Squad, it’s service, and the administration of the Squad have consumed countless hours all of which were caringly and lovingly donated to the community. In 2005 Ray suffered a major health issue that made everyday life a struggle. It didn’t matter to Ray. He kept going, doing and serving; headaches, visual issues, back pain became a regular part of life and he still laughed, smiled and was genuinely glad to see a friend (or stranger). His children remember him as a dismal failure when it came to being a disciplinarian – that was left to Donna. Ray loved the outdoors and that became a huge part of family life. He found pleasure in hunting, fishing and people. Plans were often changed because Ray “got to talking” and the time disappeared. Ray’s toppest, biggest, greatest pride were his four grandchildren. His boisterous ways, friendly smile and firm handshake will be missed by many.
Ray was a member of the Springfield United Methodist Church his entire life, a charter member of the Springfield Rescue Squad, Life Member of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Dept., and a member of the VFW, American Legion, and the Moose.
Friends will be received on Friday, April 20, 2018 from 3PM to 8PM at the Springfield United Methodist Church where funeral services will be held on Saturday at 11AM with military honors to follow. Interment will be private and at a later date at Ray’s home in Springfield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Springfield Rescue Squad ~ P.O. Box 370 ~ Springfield, WV 26763.
Inquiries may be directed to Shaffer Funeral Home, 304-822-3511