Kent Wagner Wray, 93
Kent Wagner Wray, 93, entered the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, Jan. 31, in Dallas, Texas.
Kent's life was dedicated to serving the Lord as a husband and father, pastor, missionary, writer, Bible teacher and friend to many.
Kent was born on July 18, 1921, to Bailey and Orpha (Wagner) Wray in Kenton, Ohio. During Kent's early years, the family moved to Plainwell where he grew up and graduated from Plainwell High School.
When Kent was 10 years old he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. As a teenager, he spent several summers as a camper at Maranatha Bible Conference, Muskegon. It was through the influence of his counselors and camp speakers that Kent chose to dedicate his life to vocational Christian ministry.
At the age of 16, Kent went to Bob Jones College in Cleveland, Tenn., where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pastoral Studies. He also attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
Upon graduation, Kent became the pastor of Day Bible Church in Augusta. It was there Kent met his bride and the love of his life Evelyn Bostwick. Kent and Evelyn were married Nov. 13, 1948. They were blessed with nearly 58 years of marriage.
Kent was pastor of Goodells Gospel Church in Goodells from 1948 to 1954 and Lake Center Bible Church in Portage from 1955 to 1958. In 1958 Kent accepted the position of editorial vice president of RBM Ministries (then Rural Bible Mission) in Kalamazoo. For more than 50 years, Kent served writing children's curriculum and as a missionary to children in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. Kent also enjoyed ministering to children in Gibson City, Ill., and various summer camps around the country.
It was in 1992 that Kent saw a life-long dream come true with the publishing of his first children's book, "Boy from Shacktown." Ten more children's books followed. Besides writing himself, he also enjoyed teaching writing workshops for children.
Kent was a member of Covey Hill Baptist Church in Paw Paw for 56 years, where he served faithfully in various capacities, most recently as an adult Bible teacher. Kent considered the congregation his "family."
For the past year-and-a-half Kent has resided with his daughter Mary Compton in Dallas, Texas. Most recently Kent was a resident of the Villages of Lake Highlands Skilled Nursing Facility.
Kent will be deeply missed by his five children, Lois Riddick (Edward) of Oshkosh, Wisc., Stephen Wray (Patricia) of Vancouver, Wash., Ruth Corrie (John) of Three Rivers, Mary Compton (Donald) of Dallas, Texas and Elisabeth "Beth" Thomas (Paul) of Lexington, Neb. Kent was blessed with 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bailey and Orpha Wray; his dear sister, Marian Wray; his beloved wife Evelyn; his precious granddaughter Pamela Ruth Corrie; great-grandson Caiden Davis; and great-granddaughter Natalie Jean Riddick.
Visitation and a celebration of life service will be Saturday, Feb. 14 at Covey Hill Baptist Church, corner of M-40 Highway and 28th Avenue in Paw Paw. Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m., with the celebration of life at 2 p.m.
Memorials may be made to RBM Ministries.
Arrangements are being provided by the Gobles Chapel, D. L. Miller Funeral Home, www.dlmillerfuneralhome.com.