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Honoring our fathers; church homecoming

By Shirley Thorne

County Line

Correspondent

The St. Matthews Lutheran Church annual homecoming will be held this Sunday, June 27. All former church members, relatives and friends are invited to bring a basket of good food and fond memories to share for “dinner-on-the-grounds” beginning at 1 p.m.

Guest speaker at the 11 a.m. worship at Society Baptist this Sunday will be the Reverend Gene Tutterow.

Clarksbury United Methodist Church is having a Bible study featuring the book “The Epic of Eden.” The study, which includes videos, is led by Pastor Cliff Wall and meets at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in the church fellowship hall. Everyone is invited. For more information or a copy of the book, please call Pastor Wall on 704-546-2473.

Upcoming community events include vacation Bible school at Society Baptist Church Sunday, August 1 – Wednesday, August 4.

Alice C. Waugh is now recuperating at home. Join us in prayer for the Lord’s divine healing and blessings upon Alice and other residents who are having health problems. Remember in prayer Keith Wilson, whose son “Coby” Wilson of Statesville died unexpectedly Sunday of last week. Continue to pray for the families affected by the coronavirus, and pray that more folks will get vaccinated as the number of Delta variant infections continues to increase in our country.

It’s graduation time and we will again honor our graduates this year. If you are, or know of, a graduate or one receiving special recognition or a certificate the past year; please email a photo and/or information this week to sdtlink@hotmail.com.

Father’s Day Tribute

Last Sunday was Father’s Day, a day we honor those fathers living and treasure memories of those deceased. We hope all fathers had a tremendous day. Our local churches recognized those fathers in attendance with a token of appreciation. The oldest father in all of our local churches was Jim Stroud, who attended Society Baptist. Willie Lundy was the Father’s Day speaker at Piney Grove AME Zion, where David Imes was the oldest and Robert Walker was the oldest at Calvary Baptist.

This year we follow our tradition of paying tribute to a senior living father and a deceased father, Billy Stroud and Edd Ray Ketchie, respectively.

J. C. and Elsie Sheets Stroud lived in High Point when their son Billy was born in January 1935. Being an only child, Bily got much attention by his proud parents. He enjoyed visiting Grandpa Sanford and Grandma Avis Stroud on Ridge Road. During World War II Billy lived with his parents in Georgia and Maryland as they worked for aerospace companies.

After the death of Sanford in 1946, J. C. and Elsie began operating the store Sanford had operated and built a home nearby on US Hwy 64 West. They joined in worship at Society Baptist Church, where Billy was saved at age 13 at a revival.

After graduating from Cool Spring High in 1953, Billy first entered Moody Bible Institute but left to serve in the US Army from 1954 – 1957. He returned to Moody and, while working nearby, he was smitten by a sweet perky Moody student Beverly Edwards, whom he met on a blind date in 1959. The couple married May 1961 in Beverly’s home area of Spokane, Washington.

Billy and Beverly first lived in Statesville as he was an ordained minister and pastored churches there. As their family grew with the births of David, Rebekah, and Rachel; the couple built a house on US Hwy 64 West beside his parents in 1971. Billy worked at Ingersol-Rand from the late 1960s to1993 when he retired to help his mother with their store after his father’s death in 1993. Today Billy and Beverly enjoy retirement and the company and care by their children, two of whom live on the family farm.

Lee and Beulah Griffith Ketchie happily welcomed the birth of their son Edd Ray in March 1935. Edd Ray was the “apple of his Grandpa Ketchie’s eye.” In 1937 Edd Ray had playmate sister Mary Elizabeth “Pat” and the two were joined by brother Billy in 1944. Beginning in the mid-1940s Lee and Beulah made their home off Battle Road and in 1952 welcomed daughter Martha. The family became active members of Society Baptist Church.

In 1953 Edd Ray graduated from Cool Spring High; where he was a member of the glee and drama clubs and was a bus driver. On June 5, 1954, he married his high school sweetheart and classmate Rachel Kennedy at the home of Society Baptist Pastor W. B. Rimmer in Troutman and she joined Edd Ray in worship at Society. After a few years the couple made their home on Eastside Drive off East Broad Street in Statesville. In 1956 Rachel gave birth to son Steeven Ray and to daughter Luann in 1966.

Edd Ray was an active member of Society, where he was church treasurer for many years before later joining Southview Baptist. He sold life insurance for Pilot Life for thirty-two years, then was postal carrier for the United Postal Service, and also drove a tour bus. As a high school senior, his life motto was, “Let me fail at trying to do something rather than to sit still and do nothing.” As long as he was able to work, he lived that belief.

In 1996 Edd Ray was diagnosed with cancer and at age 65 he died with his family at his side January 25, 2001. At his request, he was laid to rest beside his beloved Grandpa Ketchie in the Society Baptist Church Cemetery.

Here’s hoping you have enjoyed this “flash back” of these two County Line fathers. Our community appreciates the support, dedication, and hard work of all our fathers – both living and deceased.