Raymond Richard Veckruise, Sr., was born in Gary, IN, January 1918, during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, to Walter and Florence Veckruise. Ray was an accomplished pianist and composer, publishing several religious anthems. He played in the original Mickey Mouse Orchestra at age 14. Ray served in the US Army Air Corps during WWII. He earned his degree in Choral Conducting at Oklahoma Baptist University, then returned to Jacksonville, where he taught Chorus at Terry Parker and Englewood High Schools. He wrote the alma mater for Terry Parker, which has been the school song up to this date. He played a huge part in his students’ lives, and kept contact with many of them over the years. He produced many talent shows and musical programs. Ray was a member of several musical combo bands, playing many Jax locations, including the University Club, Charcoal Steak House and the former Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine.
Ray’s first wife, Claire Folsom, passed away in 1983. Ray moved to Ft. Mill, SC, where he was head of the music department at PTL. While there, he met Jean Saunders, who he married in 1987. Together, they founded Christian Family Services, placing over 200 babies in adoptive homes. Ray and Jean traveled the world extensively before ending up at Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, NC, where they enjoyed their retirement and beautiful mountains. Ray continued to produce music programs for the residents there. Ray obtained his private pilot’s license at the age of 71.
Preceded in death by his wife, Claire, son Gregory Cleve and grandson Brandon Kline. Survived by his loving wife, Jean, son Raymond Richard, Jr. (Charlotte), daughter Ronnie Echevarria (San Diego, CA) and granddaughter Trilce Veckruise (Charlotte, NC).
Ray will be remembered with love by all who knew him. Surely, he is tinkling the ivories in Heaven in the presence of God.
Live Stream of Ray’s Celebration of Life will be on 12/12 at 11 a.m. EST at www.cccmontreat.org.
In lieu of flowers, may we suggest a donation to Christ Community Church, www.cccmontreat.org, or David Jeremiah Ministries, davidjeremiah.org.
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