Mildred Ann “Millie” Allen Ray, age 86, died peacefully in her home in Jerome, Idaho on November 4, 2021. Millie was born on October 20, 1935 in Redmond, Oregon to Mildred Green Allen and Edward Allen. She graduated from Crook County High school in 1953 and married William S. “Bill” Ray on January 9, 1954. The couple then moved to Illinois, and later Michigan, where Bill served in the Air force. After the military, they moved back home to the west.
Millie and her family lived in Prineville, Oregon, Bend, Oregon, Payson, Utah, Orem, Utah, and Jerome, Idaho. Millie was born late in her parent's life, and was much loved and cherished by her family. She grew up on a Ranch near Paulina, Oregon, (near Rager Ranger Station) sixty miles from the nearest paved road, where she attended a one room school, learned to ride a horse, and shoot, at a young age. She enjoyed life on the ranch and told her children and grandchildren many tales of her childhood, her parent's journey west, and what life on a homestead had been like for her parents and grandparents. All her children and grandchildren grew up with a strong sense of where they came from and family history. Millie was blessed with a large, busy, demanding family, yet she managed to take a genuine interest in each child. She took the time to encourage special skills and talents. She was the leader of church activities for her children including Primary teacher, Primary President, Blazer Scout Leader and after climbing Mount Hood carrying a canvas tent, the Bend Stake Camp Director. She not only helped to prepare for, but sat through, untold years of swimming lessons, 4H meetings, county and state fair events, girls camps, scout activities, ball games, band performances, dance performances, school programs, parent teacher conferences, church talks, choir performances, speeches, graduations, practices, stage productions, parades, and all manner of projects. She taught herself to sew beautifully and made not only all the clothing for the family, but she sewed lovely uniforms, prom dresses, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, men's tailored suits, Scottish kilts, dolls and toys, upholstery, and even a convertible car roof. She was the costume designer for an internationally traveling dance company. One small niece once said that "Aunt Millie can sew anything." She had an eye for style and design, and could create patterns, and combine patterns and fabrics into beautiful articles of clothing. She also lovingly sewed for her grandchildren. Millie always created a comfortable and organized home. She nurtured creativity and taught her children that they could do anything if they were willing to work hard enough. Millie was a talented singer and enjoyed participating in multiple choirs throughout her life. Her soothing alto voice was sought after whenever a choir gathered. She was a valued member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she served in many capacities including Primary, Young Wome’ns, Relief Society, choir, and many more. Millie had a big heart, and even though her early life was marred by the great depression and World War II, she taught her children to share and be fair, and to love their neighbors without regard to income, religion, nationality, or politics. She quietly took food to the sick and needy, offered a helping hand, served on committees and as a poll worker during elections, made gifts for her children's teachers, and helped with funerals. She stood up for the underdog. She also found humor to lighten life's challenges and played a mean game of Rook. She had a sharp wit and made people laugh, right up to her final days. Millie will be greatly missed by her neighbors, friends, and family.
Millie is survived by eight children: Tisha Harty (Douglas), Becky Clarkson (Dirk), William A. Ray (Cindy), Melanie Millet (Robb), Samuel Ray (Sherryn), Kirsten Fullmer (Stephen), Sara Norris (Lee), and Twilla Mann (Tyler); as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, five siblings, one grandchild, and her husband, Bill.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am, with a viewing beginning at 10:00 am, Wednesday, November 10, 2021at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 50 East 100 South, Jerome, Idaho and livestreamed on the Farnsworth Mortuary Facebook page. Graveside dedication will conclude at Jerome Cemetery.