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Funeral services for Ray Karrer will be held at 5:30 PM, Thursday, October 17, 2013 at Calvary United Methodist Church with Rev. Ben Read officiating. Burial will be in the Monthalia Cemetery following a service at 11:00 AM, Saturday, October 19, 2013 at the Monthalia United Methodist Church near Gonzales, TX with Rev. Kent Kepler officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 PM, Wednesday evening at the funeral home. Fry & Gibbs Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements.
Ray Edward Karrer was born in South San Antonio, TX April 28, 1935, and died at home on October 12, 2013. In between, he lived a full life.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and his Master’s Degree from North Texas State University in Denton. He furthered his education in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Many generous teachers along the way mentored him.
Ray spent most of his professional life as an educator. He taught at Marion High School in Marion, TX, Bonham Jr. High in Odessa, TX, Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX. For 32 years, he taught speech and drama at Paris Junior College, as well as serving as Chair of the Fine Arts Division. His former students taught in small schools and were nominated for Tony Awards, and he was equally proud of all of them. He was a member of the Texas Community College Speech and Theatre Association and the Texas Educational Theatre Association. He judged UIL One Act Play Competitions for every size school at every level of competition in Texas, always making sure his critiques were constructive. He encouraged his former students as they founded the Paris Community Theater, and after his retirement, he enjoyed directing and acting in that theater, as well as serving on PCT’s board in various capacities. In each of those positions, in addition to providing his students “Driving with Ray” stories, he mentored and shaped them, pushing them to do things they never believed they could.
Ray was a lifelong United Methodist. He served his church tirelessly, from college where he participated in the Campus Christian Community, to the end of his life as he served the Wesley Campus Ministry at PJC, helping serve meals, taking students on mission trips to Mexico, and chairing the board. He was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Paris for 44 years. He was the choir director there for 10 years and sang in the choir until his death. He served on various committees that oversaw staffing concerns, worship, and the church’s childcare programs, among other things. He was also active in the United Methodist Men and the Wesleyan Sunday School Class.
In the wider United Methodist Church, Ray helped prepare disaster relief supplies in Louisiana and helped train church leaders in Russia. He coordinated and trained Lay Speakers, like himself, in the Paris/Sulphur Springs District, and he served as a Lay Member of the North Texas Annual Conference. He also led the Weekend Cooperative Mission Event, which shaped hundreds of men and women in understanding their world and issues of the day.
Ray participated in Habitat For Humanity. He ministered to prisoners in the Choice Moore and Buster Cole Units in Bonham, where he taught Bible studies one day a week each. He also facilitated a weekend event for those men called Residents Encounter Christ. In all of these, Ray affirmed the decency and humanity of those he served.
Ray also had many active years in the Boy Scouts of America as a young man and as an adult. He served as Assistant Scout Master and Scout Master in Reno, TX. Later, he served on a Troop Committee in Paris. Many young men learned vital skills from him, from confidence and polish to why you should not pick poison ivy with your bare hands.
Ray was a Renaissance Man. He was an artist, an organist, a woodworker. He was a storyteller, a mentor, a teacher. He was an advisor, an encourager, a confidant. He was a proud husband to his wife and proud father to his son. Like the last play he directed, he was a “Man for All Seasons.”
Ray Edward Karrer was preceded in death by his mother and father, Norma Braune and Philip Louis Karrer, by his mother- and father-in-law, Myrtle Louise and Monroe Herman Tolle, by his brothers, Bert (Marion TX) and George (Folsom, CA), and by his sister, Junell Treece (Austin, TX). He is survived by his saintly wife of 51 years, Carolyn Tolle Karrer, his son and daughter-in-law, Clayton Tolle Karrer and Cynthia Kepler-Karrer (Austin, TX), his sister-in-law, Sue Karrer (Marion, TX), his sister, Phyllis Flint (New Braunfels, TX), by his brother and sister-in-law Norman “Pete” and Sue Karrer (Placerville, CA), and by his brother, Loren Karrer (Houston, TX), as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews and many beloved former students, friends, and colleagues.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the following: The Wesley Campus Ministry Building Fund in care of Calvary United Methodist Church of Paris, Texas, the Youth Building Fund of Calvary UMC, the Prison Ministry in care of Calvary UMC, the Drama Scholarship Fund of Paris Junior College, or the organization or charity of the donor’s choice.
Online condolences may be made to the Karrer family by visiting www.fry-gibbs.com.