Betty Ruth Ray
Dec 15, 1942
Dec 8, 2023
Betty Ruth Ray, 80, of Louisville transitioned on Thursday, December 7, 2023 at Norton Hosparus Care.
Visitation Friday 11-1 at Covenant of Faith Fellowship Ministries 727 S 15th Street. Funeral to follow at 1pm. Burial Green Meadows Cemetery.
Telling Her Story…..
Betty Ruth Ray was born on December 15, 1942, in Statham, Georgia, to John Walter Dotson and Azie Sims Dotson. She was the oldest daughter of their eight children (4 boys, 4 girls).
Her granddaughter, Kyra tells the rest of the story in a Tribute for Granny…..
One of the distinct memories I have of my granny Betty was her shouts during church. On Saturdays, she accompanied my mom and I to service here, and when the Holy Spirit moved her, she raised her arm and waved her hand among a crowd of witnesses. She responded to the preacher’s words and to the choir with loud praise. She had a voice that filled the entire congregation. Her common phrase was “Thank you! Glory, glory, hallelujah!” Her shout was not only loud, but it was also rhythmic. Betty was a lover of the blues genre. So her shout was full of pregnant pauses, grit, power, and tenderness. Her praise conveyed unspeakable gratitude and joy. It was a shout of a woman who had faced hardship and knew the strength of the Lord.
You see, Betty grew up in Statham, Georgia during the Jim Crow era. Alongside her parents, brothers, and sisters, she worked as a sharecropper at a young age. Her family struggled under the shadow of racism and under poor economic opportunities. So Betty had to prioritize labor in the hot Georgia sun instead of the carefreeness usually associated with childhood. Because of the demands on the field, she did not return to school after the eighth grade, giving up any dreams and possibilities of the future she may have crafted in her innocence.
Betty’s childhood again quickly met maturity when she married Obbie Cox at 17. The young couple left all that was familiar in Georgia and sought a better way of life in Louisville, Kentucky. A year later, they began their family, and Betty gave birth to her first child, my mother Connie. In the years to come, the young Betty’s responsibilities continued to grow, as their house on Jefferson Street became full of children: Connie, Bruce, Linda, Ricky, Keith, and David. Betty kept her head down and plowed through the day-to-day needs.
In a way, her diligent care and work ethic as a young sharecropper were evident as she served as wife and mother. Even though she was older and miles away from Georgia, she still kept with her the belief that “life’s loads must be carried.” Survival was in her bones, and she endured the demands of each day. But, as in her childhood, while juggling the tasks, there was still no room to focus on other things….even if those others things were necessary for the soul. And, as a result, Betty at times struggled.
Despite the hard times and despite her imperfections, Betty persisted in her faith. Thinking about my granny’s worship and story leads me to reflect on the legendary gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, and her version of the song, “How I Got Over”. Not only in the lyrics but also in the strength of her voice, Mahalia declared that she would “shout all her troubles over.” It was as if she was telling her listeners that shouting the Lord’s goodness would surely silence sin and darkness and help anyone to overcome whatever they face.
These sentiments were, too, echoed in Betty’s praise. Her shouts were testimonies. They gave witness to the gospel---that she was sinner in need of a Savior. They were declarations that she was wanderer in life but knew the Lord’s guidance. And they were sighs of relief and rest for that little girl from Statham who had carried the loads of life for far too long. Her shouts
acknowledged what all God had done: His protection, His provision, His patience, His forgiveness, His kindness.
She reflected Psalm 100:1-5, when it states, “Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his —his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations.”
Betty was not shy to let others know about the wonderful works of God. And, as she became a grandmother and entered into her elderly years, she embodied these truths more and more and lived in response to the grace of Jesus. She let go of the heavy burdens experienced in her childhood and reconciled with her shortcomings. Free in Christ, she displayed the love of God to all those around her. Especially to me and the cousins who, while growing up, enjoyed our summer days playing at granny’s house and eating all the ice cream she welcomed us to have. Then, while I was attending college, she would check in with me or ask my mom how I was doing on a regular basis; though simple gestures, these check-ins were a source of home and assurance.
Everyone was a recipient of granny Betty’s care and attention. Even when battling illness and confined to her bed, her children, grandchildren, and friends were always on her mind and heart.
Though granny has passed away, death will not keep her silent forever. Betty’s Savior will come again and descend with a shout from heaven. His powerful voice will completely vanquish sin and evil, and cast death into darkness. Jesus’s shouts will shake the graves, and because of her faith, she will join believers in the resurrection. She will rise from her sleep, I believe, shouting her common phrase, “Thank you! Glory, glory, hallelujah!” Her shouts will join the loud choir of angels and the boom of the trumpets, which will signify the final establishment of the God’s kingdom on earth. And Betty will shout her way into eternal life and praise her Lord there forever.
Betty Ruth Ray completed her assignment on earth on December 7, 2023, just seven days before her 81st birthday. Her legacy and precious memories will live on in her children, Connie Cox, Bruce Cox, Neala Serikali aka Linda Cox, Ricky Cox, Keith Cox, and David Cox; siblings Clifford Dotson and Gertrude Dotson-Small; nine grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren; and host of extended family and friends.