Life story Visitation
Life Story Service
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Burial will follow at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park. After the burial there will be a lunch held at Cross Community Church of the Nazarene (5623 Oakland Drive, Portage, MI 49024).
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Sweet and optimistic, Diane Ray lived a life rich in faith and family. Diane humbly embodied the principles of her faith; she loved wholeheartedly, generously served others, and consciously sought the gifts in every moment. She welcomed each day and person with gladness and was a comfort to all who knew her. Never one to require the spotlight, Diane quietly supported those she loved with unwavering loyalty and patiently shared her spirituality. In doing so, she proved a powerful role model for those who knew her best. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and friend, Diane was cherished by many.
The year 1948 proved a year of continued celebration of the end of World War II. As America's heroes eagerly returned home, a renewed spirit and hope filled the air. American prosperity grew like no other time in our history. The Greatest Generation soon proliferated, creating the age of the Baby Boomers. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the cause for celebration grew even greater for Wesley and Gerine (Miller) Caldwell as they welcomed their daughter, Diane, to their family on July 9.
Growing up in West Michigan during the 50s and 60s, Diane's early years proved a firm foundation upon which she built the rest of her life. Guided by a strong faith, she prayed often and had a deep desire for others to know Jesus. As a teen, she was able to explore her faith more deeply at Warner Youth Camp in Grand Junction, Michigan. On these holy grounds, along with her peers, Diane encountered Christ through life-changing experiences that forged her commitment to keep Christ central in all of her endeavors and to follow His will as revealed by His Word and His Spirit.
In 1965, while at the camp, she met the love of her life, Kenneth Ray. She spotted Kenneth in the cafeteria at lunch one day and decided to sit down next to the friendly-looking young man. Kenneth was delighted, for he had been hoping for a date with her for a while. Kenneth knew he wanted to marry her from the very beginning. After turning down his proposal 3 times she said he could ask her again, to which he did and on September 7, 1968, the happy couple married and officially began their 54-year adventure. Diane said had she known what their lives would hold she would have said yes the first time and ran down the isle. Diane and Kenneth were blessed to welcome four children to their family. Diane devoted herself to being a full-time mother and ensuring her girls grew up in a loving and supportive home. She relished in motherhood and was always present in their lives, providing comfort, encouragement, and confidence at every turn. She loved to sew and delighted in making clothes for her children and their dolls, letting her kids pick out their fabrics at the store. The kids grew up in the kitchen with Diane, learning the fine art of infusing love in the foods they prepared. Even after she began working outside the home, Diane still managed to prepare beautiful dinners for her family each night. Snow days were the best because they included the traditions of baking cookies and playing in the snow.
One of the greatest gifts Diane and Kenneth gave their family was the example of their marriage. Rooted in faith, love, respect, and friendship, Diane and Kenneth were inseparable companions. While they honored one another's individuality and independence, they were steadfast in their support of one another and their shared commitment to their family. When Kenneth became a pastor, which required moving frequently, Diane was always willing to follow his call.
In time, Diane answered the call to her own vocation and became an elementary special education teacher. A highly motivated and disciplined student herself, she earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan, graduating magna cum laude and later graduated summa cum laude from Wayne State University with her Master's degree. Her professors respected her and the depth and creativity of her project assignments so much that they were known to exempt her from final exams. Diane brought this same passion and commitment to excellence to the classroom. She had a special knack for teaching kids to read. And, she could easily get through to kids, helping them understand difficult subjects and trust their individual gifts and abilities. Nothing contented her more than seeing a young person recognize their greatness and flourish in the reflection of her encouragement.
Despite Diane's quiet humility when it came to her work and family, she was a true adrenaline junky! She loved the thrill that came with parasailing, hot air balloons, zip lines, and roller coasters. With Kenneth at her side, she was an enthusiastic "yes" to many adventures throughout the country and overseas. They even went on a submarine ride in Hawaii and flew in open cockpit WWI planes. An epic white water rafting trip in Alaska proved the stuff of legend when the Zodiak guide explained that whoever sits up front gets wet and then asked, "Who wants the seat?" Diane joyfully declared, "We do!" To which Kenneth replied, "Who's this 'we' business?" It's no wonder Kenneth drew the line at skydiving.
Diane was well known for her unconditional love, belief in the basic goodness of people, and the ability to see beauty in every moment. Never one to shrink in the face of a challenge, Diane chose to lean into her faith even during the darkest moments. She provided much-needed levity with unexpected, well-timed quips and reflected God's love with her radiant smile and warm eyes. These beautiful qualities are a part of the incredible legacy that will long live in the hearts and lives of the many people Diane inspired during her life.
Diane Ray of Kalamazoo, age 73, died on May 3, 2022. Diane was preceded in death by her daughters: Rachel Ray and Bethany Poston. Proudly carrying her legacy forward are her beloved husband, Kenneth; daughters: Amy (Dave) Halt and Laura (Jeffrey) Cook; grandchildren: Sarah and Liam; siblings: Carolyn (Don) Underwood, Susanne (Paul) Hanson, and Wayne (Sandy) Caldwell; and many nieces and nephews.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation 5-7 PM Tuesday (MAY 10) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900. A Life Story Service will be held 11 AM Wednesday (MAY 11) also at the funeral home, with burial at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park to follow. Visit Diane's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to World Vision or Mercy Ships.