Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Debra Ellen (Berry) Ray, age 72

Debra Ellen (Berry) Ray entered the gates of Heaven on July 9, 2024 after battling 6 years with Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

She is preceded in death by her parents; Miller and Therma Berry, sisters; Barbara Priest and Peggy Priest, brother; Michael Berry, and baby Sally waiting to see her momma.

Debbie is survived by her husband of 52 years; George Ray, son; Matt (Stephanie) Ray, daughter; Amy Ray, grandchildren; Kobe (Delaney) Burke, Allison Burke, Ryan Ray, and Rachel Ray, honorary granddaughter; Annley Rye, great-granddaughters; Hayden and Harper Burke, brother; Charlie (Karen) Berry, sister-in-law; Sue Berry, brother-in-law; Jim Priest, and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Born on December 9, 1951 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri to Everett Miller Berry and Therma (Simmering) Berry. Deb was one of five children, loved her family dearly, and graduated from Poplar Bluff High School in 1969. Living life in a then small town, she met the love of her life, George Daniel Ray. They went on a couple dates in high school and started to officially date after she was short a few cents and he gave her a quarter, so she could buy some ice cream for her family. They were married six months later on December 20, 1971 and moved to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. They made their way back to Missouri where their son, Matthew Daniel Ray, was born in 1974 and then moved to Arkansas and had their daughter, Amy Danielle Ray, in 1979. Between a lot of baseball games, dance recitals, choir concerts, family trips, and camping at the lake, life was an adventure and there was always laughter at the dinner table. Debbie was the loudest and proudest Momma and Nonni cheering for her kids and grandkids. And if you ever needed advice or to be encouraged, you always felt lifted up and loved after having a conversation with her. She was the mother everybody wanted, but two were blessed to have.

Debbie, along with her husband, became a follower of Jesus in 1976 and have been members of Bethany Baptist, Baring Cross Baptist, Gethsemane Baptist, First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, and finally First Assembly of God in Lonoke. She was one of the most giving, encouraging, compassionate women, with a little silliness added in to make the best wife, momma, nonni, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and true friend. Her and George would go visit those that were in hospitals, nursing homes, and those that were homebound, because in her words “everybody deserves to know that they’re loved”. If you needed anything she was there for you, even if it was just her time and presence. She was an intercessory prayer warrior for whomever God laid on her heart and her family still feel her prayers surrounding them. She not only showed her children who God is and the love He has for them, but showed the world.

Deb had been a Licensed Optician since she was 18 and retired in 2013 to spend more time with her husband, love on her grandkids more, and to do more for the church and ladies ministry. Her favorite scripture was Isaiah 40:31 (Amp): But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.

We want to thank Shawn, Polly, Deborah, and Pastor Charles from Arkansas Hospice for their heart in caring for momma and us. God never failed her, but this fallen world did. Momma always told me there’s something you learn when you’re going through difficult times. We learned that God is always there to provide us His strength, comfort, and love when people are not. We couldn’t have gotten through this cruel disease without Him. We didn’t lose her; we know exactly where she is. Momma has her personality back and is now better than ever! Wouldn’t you love to be in that place? Where you’re surrounded by peace and love. Where all the children are safe to play. Where sadness, stress, and fear are never felt again. Jesus is the only way to feel and know that freedom; to be who you’re truly created to be. Quit looking at people and their failures to live up to their faith, look to Jesus instead.

Debbie’s celebration of life gathering will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 3:00pm at First Assembly of God in Lonoke. Momma loved colors, so we ask that you wear something colorful and fun, it is a celebration after all.

In lieu of flower arrangements, the family asks that you donate to LiveDead at 1445 N Boonville Ave, Springfield, MO 65802, (877) 840-4800, or Gravesite will be a private ceremony.

Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at


  • Linda Magill Posted July 9, 2024 3:21 PM

    God Bless Debbie. He certainly has taken a lovely lady since childhood. I had the pleasure of calling her one of my best friends during our school years. I love you Deb❤️

  • Cindy Posted July 9, 2024 3:47 PM

    So sorry for your loss

  • William and Phillis Vance Posted July 9, 2024 9:47 PM

    So sorry for your loss Debbie Ray was a lovely lady she was always good to William and I we loved her. I will always remember when you walked into church with her big smile and good morning welcome to church now she’s in heaven with that big smile and greeting everyone. Can’t wait to see her again. I know she will be there saying welcome to heaven.

  • Lisa and Kenny Sullivan Posted July 9, 2024 10:18 PM

    One of the best women of God I was ever blessed to know. I know we will see her again, sitting at the feet of Jesus. We are praying for peace and comfort.

  • Diane Hiaks Posted July 9, 2024 10:32 PM

    She was the best sister inlaw, she was deffently my favorite. Iam sure glad my brother had that quarter to give her many years ago. She was always so full of life. Until we meet again my sweet sister inlaw. I Love You

  • Danny Love Posted July 10, 2024 6:28 PM

    George, my sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your wife Debbie.
    Prayers to you all from your old railroad buddy

  • Marcia Byers Posted July 11, 2024 8:39 AM

    Vicki Ray Strode I’m so very sorry for your loss!!! Yes, she’s thriving and so much better now in the arms of Jesus! It’s still really hard! Praying for you and your family!! 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏

  • Sandra Robbins Posted July 11, 2024 9:27 PM

    You will truly be missed sweet friend 🧡 till we meet again.

  • Dianne Dare Posted July 12, 2024 6:03 AM

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Bro George and the family. Debbie was one of the first ladies I met at Lonoke church. We became instant friends! Her beautiful personality and her love to help others will always be remembered. She was a “Ray” of sunshine.

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