Nelson Keyvin Ray

Nelson Keyvin Ray

June 3, 1931 – December 11, 2021

Nelson Keyvin Ray, 90, ascended to his Heavenly home Saturday evening, in his hometown of Zebulon, North Carolina surrounded by the love of his family. His battle with Alzheimer’s Disease over the past 9 years showed his courage in facing life challenges with determination and a smile. Despite the trials, Nelson provided excellent care to his wife for many of those years, and stayed strong until the end.

He was born in Franklin County to the late, Bunny Clifton and Eva Williams Ray. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Ruth Vick Ray; brothers, Clifton, Wade & Pete Ray; sisters, Hettie Pearce & Dalma Martin; great granddaughter, Ella Cate Dees; special nephew, Williford “Tink” Martin.

He is survived by his children, Sandra Strickland (Phil), Carson Ray, Mike Ray (Amy); grandchildren, Trevor, Zachary (Xiaoming) & Madeline Ray, Kim Johnson (Glenn), David Strickland (Jodie), Laura Dees (Aaron), Jason Wilkins & Brandon Ray (Amanda); many great grandchildren, nieces & nephews.
Nelson was a member of the Pilot Baptist Church in Zebulon. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and uncle. He spent many years of his life and time as a caregiver for his nephew, Williford “Tink” Martin, until he passed away at the age of 77.
He was an avid horseman who enjoyed trail riding with his friends in Love Valley, and training his horse, “Rocky.” Everyone who knew Nelson, appreciated his special connection with horses and equestrian skills.

Funeral Service will take place, 2:00 pm, Tuesday, December 14 at Pilot Baptist Church, 8103 NC-39, Zebulon, with Visitation prior to the service from 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm. Burial to follow at Williams Family Cemetery, Clyde Pearce Rd., Zebulon. Flowers are welcome; Memorial Contributions may be sent to The Alzheimer’s Association in Nelson’s memory.

Arrangements with Strickland Funeral Home & Crematory, 211 W. Third Street, Wendell, NC.


  • Ronnie Lewis Posted December 13, 2021 12:39 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of Nelson’s passing, i know it’s hard for the family. I pray for comfort and peace for them all! He was a good friend and has already been missed in the neighborhood. God Bless!

  • Jan Alford Posted December 14, 2021 3:03 am

    Sorry to hear of Nelson’s passing. I always admired how he carried himself. He was a great role model in watching the time he devoted to his family, friends, the community and church.. I will never forget watching all he did for his nephew Tink. I know he and Ms. Ruth are celebrating. Rest in Peace!!

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