Ray Francis Bales
Ray Francis Bales, age 86, passed away Feb. 10, 2017, at the Life Care Center in Carrollton, MO, under the care of the staff and Preferred Hospice of Lexington. Ray was born March 4, 1930, to RG and Florence (Miller) Bales in Stet.
A lifelong salesman, Ray ran an egg route out of RG Bales & Son in Stet as a young man, sold Pay Way Feed, and worked in the general store and hardware store with his dad. He farmed 120 acres three miles east of Stet for 45 years. He sold Farmers Mutual Crop & Hail Insurance, worked at the Lake City Ammunition Plant, was a salesman for WB Young, sold organic feed, seed and fertilizer, and worked at S&K Industries. Ray made Missouri history with a 1965 Ford pickup that he modified with a wood burning chamber to fuel the engine.
Ray married Willowese Rice of Braymer in 1949 in Carrollton. They raised six children and fostered 137 children in their home. Ray and Willie were married 64 years before her death in 2013. Ray was a member of Bethany Church of the Brethren and a founding volunteer of the Stet Volunteer Fire Department. Ray quilted more than 250 quilt tops that Willie made. They spent many happy hours at auctions and yard sales.
He is survived by his son, Dorris Ray Bales of Marshall; and four daughters, Tamera Rogers of Marshall, Ann Anderson of Bountiful, UT, Emily Beckton of Salina, OK, and Kortney Watson of El Dorado; 19 grandchildren; and 37 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, RG & Florence (Miller) Bales; his wife, Willowese (Rice) Bales; one daughter, Bonnie (Bales) Otero; one brother, Eldred Bales; one sister, Juanita (Bonnie) Reeves; and one granddaughter.
Memorial services will be held at Bethany Church of the Brethren in Stet on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Preferred Hospice of Lexington. They may be left at or mailed to Bittiker Funeral Home, P.O. Box 223, Carrollton, MO, 64633. Please share your memories of Ray and condolences with his family by visiting www.bittikerfuneralhomes.com and click on the obituaries link.