Raymond Earl Malone, age 80, passed away at home, in Beavercreek, Ohio, on November 17th, 2021, after battling leukemia. He was born, January 19, 1941 in McNairy County, Tennessee to his late parents Robert Mack Malone and Annie Lorene Staton. He surpassed the initial life expectancy he was given by six months. He never lost hope and held onto his strength and determination to the very end.
In July 1960, age 19, Ray joined the Air Force. He traveled the world, serving in San Antonio, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana before meeting and marrying Johnita P Reed in Salina Kansas. It was there his first daughter Yvonne was born. Having come from very meager backgrounds, he together with his wife Johnita became prime examples of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps through sheer grit and strong work ethic.
A two year stint in Lampoc, California and then Guam followed by a year in Minot, North Dakota preceded his year long service in Vietnam in 1969. From 1970, he spent 7 years in Germany where daughters Ramona and Roxanne were born, before going to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma in 1977, where he ended his 20 year Air Force career in the 3rd MOB on September 30, 1980. These were some of the proudest days of his life, where he made friends and memories that lasted a lifetime and earned the nickname “Hawkeye”, apparently for being good at hitting bullseyes playing darts.
After the Air Force, Ray began his second career selling Buicks. These were the only cars he would sell. He loved cars in general, but always owned a Buick. His favorites were the Wildcat, LeSabre, but when the LeSabre was discontinued he moved to the Enclave.
Ray sold Buicks in Oklahoma City until the mid-1980s oil bust. Then he followed Johnita to her new job at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio where he continued selling cars until Johnita passed away in 2001. It was through car sales that he later met and married Bonnie.
After retiring for the second time, Ray enjoyed traveling, going to breakfast with his buddies and doing his daily sudoku puzzles from the newspaper. He took great pride in his yard and home. He was a southern boy at heart and loved NASCAR. You knew not to call him when the race was on.
Ray will be missed for his colorful stories, jokes, patriotic pride, deep loyalty and bold authenticity. He was unafraid to speak his mind and a true diamond in the rough built from the school of tough love and hard knocks, courtesy of America’s greatest generation. Trustworthy, honest, brave, strong and reliable, he was a man to be admired.
Raymond lived a full life as a brother, husband, father and grandfather. He was a genuine friend to many, father-in-law to David, Ed and Brian, leaving behind wife Bonnie Malone, sister Brenda Malone, daughters Yvonne Ledford, Ramona Norman and Roxanne Albright, grandchildren Corey, Victoria, Taylor, Allison, Samantha, Jackson, Harrison and Hamilton. He was dearly loved and will be forever missed, giving us many memories and leaving an indelible print on our hearts.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, November 27, 2021 at the Balch Cemetery, rural Formoso, KS with Rev. Sang Hak Lee, officiating.
Interment will follow the services. Friends and family will gather just prior to the services on Saturday at Balch Cemetery.
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