Charles L. Ray, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of Redstone Federal Credit Union, passed away this week. Mr. Ray had been chairman of Redstone from 1983 until 2011. He began his tenure at the credit union in 1977 as a volunteer on one of Redstone's committees. During his board tenure, Mr. Ray oversaw exponential growth of the credit union and guided its transformation into the largest in Alabama, and one of the 25 largest federal credit unions in the country.
“The role Mr. Ray’s leadership played in Redstone’s current success cannot be underestimated,” current Redstone FCU Chair of the Board of Directors, Dr. Dorothy W. Huston, said. “He was a man of great integrity, with a kind heart and a genuine desire to help others. We are deeply saddened by his passing. His enduring vision of the excellence that Redstone could and would achieve, and his tireless commitment to the Credit Union’s mission of service, will continue to serve as an example for all current and future Redstone Board members.”
Mr. Ray owned and operated Nelms Memorial Funeral Home. He was also a school teacher in the Madison County Public Schools, a member of the Huntsville-Madison County Community Action Agency and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. His commitment to service extended beyond the credit union. He was a member of many community service organizations, and served on the board for Redstone Village, First Stop, Harris Home for Children, Huntsville Human Relations Commission, and the Interfaith Mission Service, among many others. In 2010, he was recognized nationally for his outstanding service as an inductee into the Defense Credit Union Council’s Hall of Honor.
A champion of freedom and liberty, Mr. Ray was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movements as a student and business professional. During his career, he was responsible for bringing many civil rights icons to Huntsville for various diversity programs and celebrations. Between the 1950s and 1980s, he was part of a worldwide
political movement for
equality, long before it became law. At many times, he was involved in many campaigns of
civil resistance, education and training aimed at achieving change by
nonviolent forms of resistance. The process was long and tenuous; however many of his efforts did lead to improvements in the legal rights of previously oppressed groups of people locally, regionally and nationally.
Funeral services for Mr. Ray will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 10 from the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at 315 Winchester Road. Interment will be in Valhalla Memory Gardens. Public viewing will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2013 from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 10 from 8 - 10 a.m. at the Nelms Memorial Funeral Home.