Ray E. Cruze, 97, of Franklin, TN passed away January 20, 2017.
Ray was born near Harriman, TN to Lena Adelle Drinnen and Albert Houston Cruze. During the Great Depression, Fannie Cruze Davenport graciously took the Ray into her home in South Knoxville and provided loving care. The US Army drafted Ray in February, 1941, and assigned him to the 178th Field Artillery Regiment of the South Carolina Army National Guard. Ray was among the first US soldiers in England during WWII. Participating in the North African and Italian campaigns, enemy fire seriously wounded Ray in the Apennine Mountains during an Allied offensive against the Gothic Line. After recuperation in Naples, Ray returned home in early 1945. He worked briefly at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project before beginning his 35-year career with Southern Bell Telephone.
Ray married Mildred Evelyn White February 6, 1941. After Ray returned from WWII service, they lived in Knoxville and in 1946 had a daughter, Cheryl. They moved to Nashville in 1952, had a son, John, that same year and returned to Knoxville in 1955. Moving again to Nashville in 1958, Ray and Mildred lived in the same house in the Glenview area until moving in 2002 to Windsor Park Senior Community in nearby Franklin.
Ray was a longtime member of Arlington United Methodist Church, working with various committees and serving many years as a teacher of the Suzie Mitchell Class. A 32nd degree Mason and Shriner, Ray was a member of Powell Lodge and Al Menah Temple.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Lee and Bruce; sisters, Ruth Cameron, Hettie Stone, Ruby Hackworth; and half-sister, Evelyn Ford. He is survived by his wife of 76 years, Mildred Evelyn Cruze; daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Allen Patton; his son and daughter-in-law, John and Carolyn Cruze; three grandchildren, Virginia (Patton) Laird, Elizabeth (Patton) Ivanovich and David Patton; two great-grandchildren, Sophia and Grant Laird; and several nieces and nephews.
A Life Celebration will be held 11:00am, Wednesday, January 25th with burial to follow at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens. Visitation will be 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday and 10:00am – 11:00am Wednesday at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN, 37221 615-646-9292 harpethhillsfh.com