Charles L. Ray Jr., longtime board chair of the $3.4 billion Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville, Ala., died on Tuesday, the credit union said.
Ray joined the credit union as a volunteer committee member in 1977 and served as its board chairman from 1983 until 2011.
“Mr. Ray will be especially remembered for his unwavering commitment to serving the underserved. He led the great expansion of Redstone’s facilities as well as the development of many of the outstanding products and services that Redstone is now known for,” the 355,600-member credit union said in announcing his passing.
Over the years, Ray owned and operated a funeral home, taught in the Madison County Public Schools and held senior positions at the Huntsville-Madison County Community Action Agency and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone said.
Ray held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alabama A&M University, the credit union said, was an Army veteran, active in a number of other community service organizations and in 2010 was named to the Defense Credit Union Council’s Hall of Honor.
He also was a longtime campaigner for equal rights for all, the credit union said.
“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,” Redstone FCU said in its announcement of Ray’s passing.
“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,” the credit union said.
Dr. Dorothy W. Huston, the current board chair, said, “He was a man of great integrity, with a kind heart and a genuine desire to help others. 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.”
Ray is survived by his wife, Willie Mae Ray, and daughter, Terri L. Ray. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Union Chapel Christian Academy Foundation, P.O. Box 122, Huntsville, AL 35804, marked for the Charles L. Ray Jr. Endowment Fund.