Harold Ray Kerley went to be with the Lord on November 7, 2023, at 6:24 p.m. Life for Harold Ray Kerley began on November 25, 1942 in Waukegan, IL. His parents were Hubert Ray Kerley and Helen Rose (Stewart) Kerley. Ray (as he was known to everyone) lived in North Chicago, IL until the family moved to Southern Illinois. The Kerley’s were a hard-working farm family.
Ray grew up living the farm life. He was an active member of Gilead Presbyterian Church in Simpson, IL. He attended school in Simpson, IL and graduated in 1960 from Vienna High School in Vienna, IL.
His senior year of high school he worked at Mount Funeral Home in Vienna, IL. After graduation from high school he moved to Waukegan, IL and went to work at Coca Cola Bottling Co. In 1965 “Uncle Sam” called him to the U.S. Army. He served in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, Ft. Sill, OK, Ft. Chaffee, AR and Vietnam. In his early years, Ray ran a Clark Oil station in Waukegan, IL. Later he worked at Dill Brothers Welding, Kramer’s Kampers, and Berens Moving & Storage. He worked at Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago and retired from there in 2008.
In June 1967, he married Sylvia Irene Fowler at the Midland Heights Methodist Church in Ft. Smith, AR. They moved to Park City, IL. During their years together they purchased homes in Winthrop Harbor, IL, and then Pleasant Prairie, WI.
Ray and Sylvia loved the Lord and treasured their time doing his work. They attended Lakeview Church in Zion, IL for many years. Ray was active on the church board where he served as treasurer. He enjoyed helping with projects around the church. Later they attended Immanuel Baptist Church in Kenosha. WI.
Ray and Sylvia were blessed with two sons, Kevin Ray (44) and Kent Ryan (42). Both married awesome women that were like his own daughters (Samantha Kerley and Taylor Kerley). They also were blessed with three grandchildren, Jaxson (14), Ashlynn (11) and Atlee (3).
In 2008, they retired and moved to Goreville, IL to be near his parents and family. Ray always wanted to be involved in something. He enjoyed working at the Goreville Ministerial Alliance. There he helped organize the food pantry and organized other areas as needed. In 2012, he was Goreville Man of the Year. After retiring to Southern IL, they attended the First Baptist Church in Goreville for several years and then started attending Lake of Egypt Christian Church in Marion, IL. They loved serving at that church. Ray served on the board as a trustee and helped with many projects including the fellowship hall and the expansion at the front of the church. They loved that church, the friends they made and especially Pastor Waggoner and his wife, Barbara.
It was hard to leave that area, but in 2019, his sons decided that their parents needed to move back to Kenosha. Sylvia was in a wheelchair and had some health issues making it necessary to be closer to their family. They moved into a condo in Kenosha. Several years later they purchased a home in Kansasville, WI to be near their sons. They started going to Southport Baptist in Kenosha, WI but were not able to attend very often because of health issues.
Ray loved to make things for his home and enjoyed woodworking. He made things for his family and grandchildren that they still use today. During the last several years, Ray enjoyed living out his daily life tending to the yard, home and spending time with his family. It was such a blessing to have a family that cares. God is so good.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers, Donald Eugene Kerley and Ronald Glenn Kerley (Roma). Ray is survived by his wife, Sylvia of 56 years, two sons, Kevin Ray (Samantha) of Kansasville, WI and Kent Ryan (Taylor) of Union Grove, WI; his three grandchildren, Jaxson, Ashlynn and Atlee and his sister-in-law, Lois Kerley (Don) of Vienna, IL and many cousins, nephews and nieces.
Memorial services honoring Harold’s life will be held at a later date.
Memorial remembrances to Southport Baptist Church, 13266 Wilmot Rd, Kenosha, WI 53142, https://www.southportbaptistchurch.com/ or to Lake of Egypt Christian Church, 12102 Malibu Ln, Marion, IL 62959 would be appreciated.