VERNON Ray J. September 1, 2019 Ray J. Vernon entered the gates of Heaven on Sunday, September 1, 2019. He was the youngest child of the late Albert and Nina Vernon. Also preceding him in death were two children, Ricky Vernon and Kimberly V. Livengood, over whom he never stopped grieving; brother and sisters, James Vernon, Elnease Oakley, Doris Brown, Elsie Vernon and Bernice Wood. Surviving are his loving wife of 44 years, Linda Vernon; three precious daughters, Melissa Otterman (James), Michelle Sink, and Robin Frith. Also surviving are seven grandchildren, Brittany Frith, to whom he was not only Papa, but a father figure as well, Hannah Otterman, who inherited his love of gardening and woodworking, Paige Sink, Trent Vernon (April), Matthew Vernon (Alysha), Emily Vernon, and Jacob Otterman (Katherine); four great-grandchildren, Jude, Kate, Ava, and Sawyer Vernon; daughter-in-law, Cathy Vernon Touhey (Mike). Ray proudly served his country in the U.S. Army, spending most of his time in Germany. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed sharing his bounty with family, friends, and neighbors. He had a love and great talent for refinishing furniture. Ray could take something that look like kindling and restore it to its original beauty. He was a longtime member of Furnace Creek Baptist Church, serving in many areas, including Chairman of Deacons, Sunday School Director, and Sunday School Teacher. Ray not only loved and cherished his family but also his many special friends, too numerous to name. He leaves behind wonderful memories of a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Funeral services will be conducted at Furnace Creek Baptist Church, 11 a.m. Saturday, September 7, 2019 with Pastor Philip Bramblet and Rev. Herbert Wells officiating. Interment will follow in Franklin Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 6, 2019 at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kidney Foundation or The Gideon's International. Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service and Cremation Center, Rocky Mount.