Rest in Peace, John L. Ray

in staff

It is our profound regret to note the passing of John L. Ray. Ray was a member of Ray, Winton & Kelley, PLLC for 66 years. He joined the firm in 1952 and practiced law with his father John V. Ray.

John Lakin Ray, 94, of Charleston, passed away Friday, August 17, 2018, at home. He was born January 29, 1924, in Charleston, WV, son of the late John V. Ray and Marion Lakin Rex.

John served as a B-29 navigator, flying missions over Japan with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1949, and Bachelor of Laws in 1952. At the University, he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

In October of 1952 John began active practice of law as an associate at Payne Minor and Ray (now Ray, Winton & Kelley PLLC). He tried cases before the circuit courts of Kanawha County and seven other nearby counties. He argued cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

In later years, John specialized in negotiating and drafting coal leases on large tracts of land. As well, he negotiated and drafted oil and gas leases and commercial real estate leases in Kanawha and Putnam Counties. John held an “AV” rating in Martindale-Hubbell lawyer ratings for over 34 years.

From June of 1958 until 2008, John served as President of the Board for Kanawha Valley Advertising (WV Outdoor). From 2008 until his death, he served as Chairman of the Board.

John gave generously of his time to the Kanawha Valley community over the years. He served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Charleston (Morris Harvey College) for over 25 years. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Kanawha County Public Library for over 25 years and as President for 9 years. He served as both member and chairman of the Advisory Board of West Virginia State University for 4 years.

In addition, John served as member and chairman of the Board of Directors of numerous charitable organizations, including the YMCA and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He served as trustee of both The Berkeley Minor Foundation and The Bernard and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation, which award grants to various community groups in the Kanawha Valley as well as scholarships to the University of Virginia, Virginia Theological Seminary and the University of Charleston (Morris Harvey College).

A founding member of the Board of Directors of the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in West Virginia, John was serving as a member of the Advisory Board at the time of his death.

He was a lifelong member and volunteer of Christ Church United Methodist. After the fire of 1969, John served on the committee to rebuild the church and install the current stained-glass windows.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Charleston in 1996, and a Distinguished Service Award from West Virginia State University in 1977. John was a member of the Jefferson Society, the Lawn Society and the Rotunda Society of the University of Virginia. Along with his sister, Olivia Singleton, he established the “John V. Ray” chair at the UVA School of Law, in honor of their father.

As an alumnus, John served as a member of the Board of the School of Engineering at Virginia. Once a “scratch” golfer, John was an avid participant of the sport for most of his life. He was a member of Edgewood Country Club and Berry Hills Country Club and competed in the West Virginia-Virginia Seniors league.