Celestia Bishop Ray went to her heavenly home on October 30, 2019 after a brief illness. She is now with her Lord and Savior and able to see, hear, and walk again. She was 101.
Celestia was born in Durham, N.C. on April 30, 1918. She resided in Durham her entire life with the last 11 years being with her daughter. She was deeply committed to her family, friends, faith, home, and pets. During her later years, Celestia developed a keen interest in genealogy which she shared with her children. Many hours were spent discussing her heritage and taking road trips to explore cemeteries and the streets of Durham. Vacations with family to the beach, mountains, and other destinations were an important yearly event. She held a special place in her heart for her two grandsons. She appreciated beauty created by God and man which she instilled in her children. This was reflected in her home and garden. Gardening and love of flowers were a highlight of her life. She earned several awards for her flower arrangements. With her husband by her side, she spent much of her free time working in their yard. Celestia described her yard as a cathedral because of its tall trees, wildflowers, and wildlife. It was here that she found her peace. In her own words, “I have enjoyed life and who I am … in time with my family finding this out. I loved my dogs I’ve had … and, throughout my marriage I shared with Joffre, great joy.”
Celestia graduated from Durham High School and attended the Croft Business and Secretarial School. She was first employed by Southern Fire Insurance Company. Most of her life was spent as a very active homemaker and providing the best for her children. Later, she worked until retirement at the Registrar’s Office at UNC-CH. Celestia was a member of Temple Baptist Church, Four Seasons Garden Club, General Davie Chapter of the DAR, and Order of the Kings Daughters and Sons.
Celestia was predeceased by her husband of 69 years, Joffre Wesley Ray; parents, Nathan Marvin Bishop and Annie Jane Whitaker; and her seven brothers, Hervey, Joseph, Marvin, Jr, Carl, Charles, Lewis, and Hugh.
Survivors are children Patricia Anne R. Predmore and husband Richard L. Predmore, Jr. of Campobello, SC; Joffre Wesley Ray, Jr. and wife Jane Egger Ray of Durham; and Gwen Ellen Ray of Durham; two grandsons, Patrick Timothy Predmore and wife Ashley of Spartanburg, SC, and Stephen Andrew Predmore, wife Erin and three great grandchildren, Amelia, Walton, and Miles of Bloomington, IN. Celestia is also survived by her last cocker companion, Billy J. Ray.
A celebration of life service will be held at 2 pm, Thursday, November 7, 2019 at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church in downtown Durham. A reception will be held in the church parlor following the service. A private burial service for the family members will be held in the old Maplewood Cemetery at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Temple Baptist Church of Durham and Duke Memorial United Methodist Church.