Ray passed away on Saturday, Feb 16, surrounded by his loved ones and awoke to the loving arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ. Ray was born in Decatur, IL to Ray and Betty Hall. He was the only boy of 7 children. Dad summed up his childhood by saying "The girls got the chicken and i got the bones." Once Dad was finished with school, he worked a variety of foundry jobs like his dad. He moved to NY and had two sons, Kelly and Eddie. Although he did not have the best environment, he made due with what he had. As he experienced curves and troubled roads, with the help of God, Dad managed to survive through this period and met Karen Pruiksma in Goshen, NY in 1976. She turned out to be the love of his life and the first real influence from God to call him into the His family. However, he would not heed the Lord's call just yet. Dad moved to Ft Lauderdale, FL and married Karen Hall on October 17th, 1980. A short while later, they had a son named Josh.
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Dad worked for the County of Broward in the Aviation Division. He worked heavy equipment, maintaining the runways at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. He would work there until he and Karen decided to move to Montana so that they could have a fresh start. While in Montana, Dad would work a variety of jobs since there wasn't anything quite like what he did in Florida available in Rosebud County. Due to the mental illness Dad suffered, he and Karen divorced and would end up moving to Miles City. While in Miles City, Dad became a corrections officer at Pine Hills Correctional Facility. He worked there until he and Karen decided to reunite the covenant they made to each other back in 1980.
On October 21, 2004, Dad and Mom remarried in what would be the forever marriage. Reunited with his soulmate and back together with his family, dad found his true passion; working with the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, and the forgotten. He was a counselor at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch from 2004 to 2009. As anyone who worked at the Ranch knows, you leave because of management, not the kids. He then found his final career at Mental Health Center's The Hub as a Mental Health Worker. Dad was known by the entire homeless population to be a man of mercy. He would actively seek out those who noone else would talk to, bring an extra coffee, and play cards with them. He bent over backwards to make sure that every person who went to The Hub, left knowing they were worth something.
While working at The Hub, Dad's mental health was also manifesting. Dad made several attempts at ending his life but God was not done with him yet. He survived every attempt and got the help he so desperately needed. With the right diagnosis and the proper meds, Dad was able to retire from his position at The Hub and started his greatest and most favorite career; being a grandpa.
As a grandpa, Dad watched each grandchild, every day, so that his kids could go to work and not have to worry about daycare. Dad would say "i don't want my Grandkids getting sick from all those germs!" He had a way with kids that cannot be explained. People knew him as "Dennis" or "Ray", "DRay" or "Dad", but the title he most proudly wore was "Papa!" He helped raise and shape each one of his grand kids who affectionately called out to Papa every time they would see him. When he would come over to babysit or as he called it "spend time with my grandkids, I don't babysit", he would ask "did they eat? OK, I’ll bring food" and would show up with a bucket of KFC.
He would proudly show pictures of what Eli did that day or what Micah was wearing. He would show complete strangers what Sam had drawn for him or what face each one of them was making at that particular time. His legacy is in his grand kids; Sam, Micah, and Eli. Those three kids were his everything until his final breath. But, it was these three lights in his life that gave Jesus just the right amount of time. When we do not understand God's patience, we simply must look to Dad's life. Dad stayed alive longer than he should have for his grandkids. Jesus used this extra time to finally break down the wall and on February 7th, 2019, Dad gave his life to the Lord. Nine days later, he would reap the fruits of this decision and enter Glory. God's patience paid off and His Will was received.
Dad is survived by his wife Karen Hall. His boys and their families: Duke and Jennie Kolk, Derek Kolk and his fiance Angel McMahon (and kids), Kelly Hall and his girlfriend Christine, Edward Hall, and Joshua and Jackie Hall. His sisters: Sharon, Judy, Peggy, Cindy and Mindy. Most importantly, the loves of his life, the lights that gave Jesus the extra time to work miracles in his life, his grandchildren: Samuel, Micah, and Eli.
He is preceded in death by his parent, Ray and Betty Hall and his sister Nancy Hall-Young.
Dad, we love and miss you. To never see your face, hear your jokes, or feel your hugs, is painful. Just one last time, I would love to feel you pinch my arm hair, call us "schnoockums" and make an awkward situation more awkward. However, we take comfort in the Truth. The Truth that you are redeemed and in your Heavenly body. You are with Jesus and the multitudes in Heaven. In our pain, we have the ultimate blessing to know that you are eternally healed and reconciled. We love you Dad and we live your legacy every day we see our kids.
In Dad's honor, please consider donating to The Hub. Let's continue the work Dad so passionately did. Let us bear fruit with God's patience and possibly lead souls to the Lord. To God be the Glory forever!