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1942 Ray 2024

Ray N. Walkup

February 26, 1942 — May 15, 2024

Readyville, Tennessee

Mr. Ray N. Walkup, better known as "Pa" to those who loved him, passed away on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at the age of 82. He was born in the Gossburg Community in Coffee County, Tennessee on Thursday, February 26, 1942 to the late George Homer and Lucille Messick Walkup.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Macie Bogle Walkup; son, Richard Dale Bogle; grandparents, Joe T. and Molly Lowe Walkup and Gilbert Newton and Novera Earl Messick; and great grandson, Christian "CJ" Cook.

He is survived by his son, Johnny Ray (Kathy) Walkup, Sr. of Readyville; daughter, Rita Cook of Woodbury; grandchildren, Johnny Ray Walkup, Jr., Shelby Lynn (Timothy) Young, and Candi Renee Cook all of Readyville; and great-grandchildren, Victor Cook, Andrew Cook, Tucker Means, Dixie Young, and Breanna Walkup. 

The Walkup family left the community of Gossberg when Ray was just 5 years old and moved to the Kittrell Community in Readyville. From a young age, Ray worked on the farm, and while he was in school, it was day light to dark on Saturday and Sunday. He didn’t mind it too much because he loved to haul hay and decided to leave school in the 6th grade to help with farm chores on a daily basis.

As Ray grew into a man, that farmhand work ethic followed him. He got a job working for Rolland Phillips 66, and while he was refueling his body from the work at Shacklett’s on the square in Murfreesboro, he met a waitress named, Macie. The two of them hit it off and started dating, and Ray didn’t have a problem with Dale and Rita tagging along for the outings. The kids would hide out in the back seat, and Ray and Macie would get their time together. 

Won over by Macie’s sweet disposition, Ray made the decision to ask her to marry him, but he had to make sure of a few things first. On a hill off of Vaught Road, Ray took Macie out for a stroll, and the conversation went something like this:

Ray: “Can you make biscuits?”

Macie: “Yes.”

Ray: “Can you make cornbread?”

Macie: “Yes.”

Ray: “Well, do you want to get hitched?”

Macie’s answer was obviously an affirmative because the couple went on down to the courthouse and got married. Ray only had $2 to his name at the time and was now a newlywed and a father of 2, but he still took Macie out to celebrate after the ceremony with a hamburger at Pat’s Drive-In in Woodbury where the gas company is now.

Eating was just about the only time Ray slowed down during the daytime. Aiming to be a provider for his family, he didn’t have time to fool around. He took a position as a truck driver for the Sanitation Department of the City of Murfreesboro and remained there until his retirement in 2001. If he wasn’t working, he was out with his cows and goats. He and Macie would get up at 3:30 am every morning and leave no later than 5:30 am to get to work by 7 am. The only kicker was that both of them only worked about 3 miles from the house, but they wanted to be sure they were on time and had plenty of time if anything happened on the road.

When Johnny came into the world, Ray just buckled down even more. If he was sitting, he was eating, sleeping, or watching the news, and every child in the Walkup household knew you needed to be quiet when the news was on. His drive and determination translated to his face and gave him a stern look, but Ray wasn’t the sour puss you might think he was. In fact, his good heartedness and caring nature came out all the time through his actions.

If Ray had an ability or interest, he used it for the betterment of everyone. Believe it or not, he loved chopping wood. Not everyone’s first pick for a hobby, but Ray flourished with his axe in hand, working by the sweat of his brow. Not only did he provide firewood for his family, but he also chopped wood for the neighbors. Ray had a heart for community, and he made sure everyone in the neighborhood was taken care of, especially the widows and the elderly.

Wood wasn’t the only thing he provided for others. He also had a garden filled with tomato plants and cucumbers that he shared without hesitation. People weren’t going to go hungry with Ray around, and that sentiment extended to the animals. One such recipient was Smokey, better known as “Johnny’s dog that Ray fed.” It didn’t matter the person or creature. If they were part of the community, Ray was partial to providing him the best he could.

The only thing greater than community in Ray’s mind was family. When the grandkids started coming along, he made an effort to help where he could. He and Macie would take Candi to school but kept their same mentality on timing. There was no doubt that Candi would be the first student to arrive, bright and early at 5 am with Ray driving and Macie walking her in. Then, every Friday night, Ray and Macie hosted who could come for Krystals, wrestling, and HeeHaw before heading off to bed. 

There were many memories made right there at the Walkup household, but the two Ray probably held closest were worlds apart in meaning for him. With all of Ray’s work, he didn’t make it to a church building, but he did have church right there on the couch with Charles Stanley. Those sermons stayed in his mind, and Ray made the decision to follow Jesus. His years of protecting and providing and serving in the role of husband and father all started to make sense and have more meaning to him. After his decision, he renewed his vigor in work ethic to be a worker for the Lord.

The second memory may sound silly, but for a child growing up with little and a man that worked for everything he had, it held more meaning than anyone could understand. Ray was in high cotton when his children got him a boar goat. He enjoyed his goats, but this one in particular was special because it came with registration papers. He and his trusty Australian Cattle Dog, Ann, trotted side by side with even bigger smiles each time they’d go to care for the goats. 

It’s probably not a shock that Ray’s second memory revolves around his work, but God threw him a curve ball in 2006 when he coded from an aneurysm in his stomach. Forced to slow down for a while, Ray rolled with the punches but didn’t let it keep him down for long. In fact, he decided to come out of retirement and work for the Rutherford County Convenience Center, where he stayed until 2021 and retired at 79 years young.

Ray lived a life of striving and contentment, little and much, reservations and confidence. He shared 58 years of marriage with his beloved wife, Macie. He took the role of father on without batting an eye and didn’t treat any of the children differently. His service to his community, city, and county didn’t end until he wasn’t physically capable anymore. He remained in the Kittrell Community, where he was raised, until his health required him to move in 2022. Though his family mourns his absence from this life, they know he is happy laboring for the Lord and probably enjoying some of Macie’s biscuits and cornbread.

Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Saturday, May 18, 2024 from 10 am - 1 pm. Funeral services will follow directly after on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 1 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. Mike Watson will officiate. Interment will be in Coleman Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mindful Care (265 Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, TN 37129) or CapStar Bank toward the "CJ Cook Scholarship Fund." 

Share memories and condolences at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ray N. Walkup, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

10:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, May 18, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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